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European tolerance is undergoing viability test

February 02, 2016, 16:25 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara

MOSCOW, February 2. /TASS/. Psychologically important threshold of one million migrants from the Middle East and Northern Africa the European countries accommodated in 2015 has put European tolerance to the test.

In the meantime, this year Europe may have to brace for an influx of one and a half million migrants more. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who in fact triggered this Great Migration, has all of sudden changed her stance under the pressure of criticism. She said all refugees from Syria and Iraq would have to go back home as soon as the conflicts in their home countries were settled. The Swedish authorities have said Stockholm is going to expel 80,000 refugees, whose applications for asylum have been turned down. Several other European countries have refused to agree to the migrant accommodation quotas Brussels has been trying to dictate to them.

While politicians keep arguing, refugees in Germany, Britain and several Scandinavian countries have been complaining about discrimination. Some claim that the local authorities make life for them as hard as it was in the Jewish ghettos during World War II. There has been a big row over the decision to oblige all migrants in the capital of Wales to wear red bracelets with microchips for getting free meals. In another British town, Middlesborough, the managing company has painted the migrants’ doors red, thereby sparking angry protests from the city’s guests and human rights activists.

Denmark is following in the footsteps of Switzerland, Norway and a number of lands in Germany to enact legislation to confiscate valuables from new arrivals in compensation for the government’s spending on their accommodation.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has taken a harder line towards migrants than any other European politician. Last Sunday he declared that his country would agree to remain an EU member on the condition London would be allowed to pay no social benefits to migrants for the first four years following their arrival.

The deputy dean of the world economy and world politics department at the Higher School of Economics, Andrey Suzdaltsev, believes that Europe will "digest" one million refugees and eventually cope with many more. Russia since the early 1990s has accommodated twelve million migrants. It was really hard, but Russia managed. The European countries’ population is four times larger than that of Russia. Their ability to host several million refugees is immeasurably greater.

"As for European tolerance, there is no such thing in reality and there has never been any. It is a myth. The French hate the Germans and the other way round. The Poles hate everybody and the Europeans taken together hate all migrants. Only a tiny fraction of European society professes tolerance," Suzdaltsev told TASS.

Culture, education and the law have kept the nationalists in the EU countries at bay for the time being. This explains why the ultra-rights address their protests against the influx of refugees to the politicians, who are unable to settle the migration crisis and have to maneuver under the fire of criticism. "When she was trying to calm the Europeans with repeated assurances migrants might serve as an economic growth engine, Angela Merkel was experiencing a great delusion, to say the least, because industriousness is surely not their greatest strength and they come to Europe not in search of jobs but in search of social benefits," Suzdaltsev said.

He predicts that the current wave of migration will bring about a new ethnic and confessional balance in Europe. The European Union will have to put up with it not because it is so firmly committed to tolerance, but because it will have to proceed from the objective reality.

Assistant Professor Kirill Koktysh, of the Moscow institute of international relations MGIMO, believes that no solution of the migrant problem in Europe is in sight at the moment. "Germany and a number of other EU countries hope they will be able to send the migrants back home. But as experience shows, only those refugees who can find a decent niche in life for themselves will leave Europe, while worthless types without documents confirming their IDs, including Islamic State militants, whose criminal activities are unknown to the police or the authorities, will stay."

"European tolerance, just as the idea of multi-culturalism, is not viable and it is about to sink into oblivion. No new concept that might cement the European Union can be seen within the framework of the consumerist economy," Koktysh told TASS.

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