"Migrants are Coming into Europe not as a Labour Force but as Recipients of All Kinds of Social Benefits"
The below was delivered by former Czech President Václav Klaus before the Flemish Parliament, Brussels, October 18, 2016.
Let me start with expressing my gratitude to Mr. Van Grieken, Mr. Annemans and the Vlaams Belang for inviting me to Brussels and to the Flemish Parliament. I am really honoured to be here. It is great to speak in Brussels, but not in EU institutions. It is very rare.
Many thanks for publishing my book “Volksverhuizing” which I wrote together with my long-time colleague and collaborateur Jiří Weigl. The book is devoted to the critical discussion on the current mass migration into Europe which we consider an extremely destructive and dangerous phenomenon, a fundamental threat to Europe, to its culture, to its traditions and values, to the European way of life and to our behavioural patterns. It is a threat to the very substance of the European civilization.
I know that Flemish (and Dutch) people are aware of it, I suppose that they do not believe in the official, politically correct but factually incorrect European propaganda which comes primarily from this city as well as from some other European capitals.
I assume that the Flemish people also see and feel the fragility and vulnerability of their position in an insufficiently anchored state of Belgium and their even greater vulnerability in the very dubious – because undemocratic and economically non-functioning – European Union.
All of it is connected with the current migration. I am convinced that there is a strong link between the current mass migration and the post-democratic, towards multiculturalism and humanrightism ideologically more and more biased European integration model. This old model of ever-closer and ever more undemocratic union, which was substantially “innovated” in Maastricht and Lisbon, aims at the liquidation of European nations and their states.
We tried to explain this position of ours more comprehensively in the small and short book you have at your disposal. I am very honoured that our book is also in Flemish which gives us a chance to address a totally different, for us not sufficiently known, audience.
Let me say that this is not my first book in Flemish. The first one was “Blauwe planeet in groene kluisters” which was – already almost 10 years ago – devoted to the most pressing issue of that era, to the global warming alarmism. This topic is still with us but I am afraid that we lost. The green environmentalists – hidden in all mainstream political parties – won. They did not win in theory, but in reality, in politics and in policy prescriptions they did. Their victory is to the detriment of all of us.
The topic of the day is migration. Let me say a few words about it. It is important to avoid mixing-up two fundamentally different things. The world has been used for centuries to the phenomenon of individual migration, to the movements of individuals across the borders of countries as well as of broader cultural and civilizational regions or areas.
These days, we are, however, confronted not just with the old, well-known phenomenon of individual migration but with a conceptually different mass migration. The difference is not only quantitative. Many politicians and their fellow travellers in media and in the academy either do not understand this difference or pretend not to. They try to deal with the mass migration as if it was the case of individual migration, which it is not.
The current mass migration into Europe has been caused by several factors. There have undoubtedly been some important technical changes – starting with the information revolution and ending with the revolution in speed and costs of transportation. These two factors undoubtedly contribute to the current unusual scale of migration but they are – in my understanding – not the most important ones. The current mass migration into Europe is also not caused by the undergoing internationalization of human activities, erroneously called globalization.
I consider much more important the radical shift in ideas and policies. As a consequence of it, people in many unsuccessful, poor and underdeveloped, broken, autocratic or totalitarian, ungoverned or chaotically ruled countries got the feeling that they have a right to migrate, that they have a right to depart to more successful, rich, developed, orderly functioning, democratic countries which are – in addition to it – offering generous social benefits to all the newcomers. We should say very loudly that a right of that kind doesn´t exist and that this claim should never be accepted.
Every issue needs to be structured. I have a good experience with using a simple economic analogy. I – for some people somewhat surprisingly – differentiate the supply-side and the demand side of migration. Both are of the same importance. The supply of migrants itself cannot bring about migration. It “only” creates a potential reservoir of people ready to move. To make mass migration possible, there needs to be a demand-side as well. Most politicians speak about the supply side. What bothers me is mostly the demand side. For that reason I don´t blame migrants. I blame us, especially our politicians.
The demand for migrants – in spite of all the political rhetoric which tries to deny it –comes from Europe. It, of course, includes not only the reckless and ill-conceived explicit welcoming gesture made by Angela Merkel and some other leading European politicians in the late summer of 2015. It was just the last drop. The European – more implicit than explicit – demand for mass migration has been gradually getting momentum for years and decades. Several distinct, but mutually reinforcing factors have been contributing to it – some of them ideological, some systemic, some policy-driven. I will mention four of them:
1. The principle factor is the contemporary ideological confusion connected with the rise of ideas of multiculturalism, cultural relativism, continentalism (as opposed to the idea of a nation-state), human-rightism and political correctness. These “isms” destroyed the traditional ways of looking at the organization of human society.They replaced the orientation towards a nation (or a nation-state) with continental or planetary thinking. They proclaimed diversity to be more than social cohesion and homogeneity. They sacrificed civic rights in favour of human rights. They changed the concept of rights from negative to positive ones. They incorporated migration among human rights, etc., etc.
2. Not less important is the fact that the European (and the whole Western) society has been gradually transformed from a society heralding performance, results and achievements, production and work, into a society based on entitlements. The substance of economic and social policy has switched from the concept of a market economy to the concept of a social market economy where the adjective social has become more important than the nouns market and economy. Potential migrants understood the importance of this destructive shift very rapidly. As a consequence of it the migrants are coming into Europe not as a labour force but as recipients of all kinds of social benefits.
3. An important role in the start of mass migration was played by the process of European integration itself. The original, post-second world war concept of integration has been transformed by the Maastricht and Lisbon treaties into the concept of unification. It led
- to the weakening of nation-states and to the fundamental undermining of their sovereignty;
- to the elimination of borders throughout the European continent. For you in Belgium it may not be so fundamental. For us who spent four decades in an oppressive communist state, we consider it – paradoxically – absolutely crucial.Instead of introducing easily crossable borders, which was our dream, the borders were abolished with all kinds of unavoidable consequences;
- to the weakening of democracy and to the creation of a post-democratic, bureaucratically run Europe which enormously increased the role of the European strongest country, Germany, and – symmetrically – decreased the role of smaller EU member states. It brought to Europe a typical imperial structure of society.
4. Finally, these processes led to the reappearance of old dreams of European cosmopolitan elites about creating a new Europe and a new European man, someone who would be entirely deprived of his/her roots in individual nation-states.Migrants are believed to become the ideal input in the future pan-European society, hence, the more of them, the better. This thinking has become – at least implicitly – another driving force behind the current migration deadlock. It is not about solidarity, mercy, or compassion.
It was just a brief summary. More can be found in the just published book. It was originally published in Czech in December 2015, in German at the end of May 2016. English, Italian, French, Swedish, Polish, Russian and Serbian versions are under preparation. I hope it will find its Flemish readers.
 Klaus, V., Blauwe planeet in groene kluisters, Quantes uitgeverij te Rijswijk, Rijswijk, Netherlands, 2008, and its extended edition “Blauwe planeet (niet groen) – de visie van een klimaatdissident Aspekt, Soesterberg, Netherlands, 2010.