During the days of Empire, the rich countries of Europe exploited the resources of the poorer nations of the word through conquest. These days, there is a new system; no longer able to occupy foreign lands and exploit their manpower for their own purposes, they import citizens from the developing countries to boost their local labour force. This has been a major factor behind a massive population loss in the poorer countries of Europe. The UN estimated that about 18 million people have left Eastern Europe since the early 1990s, a population drop of about six per cent.
On a recent trip to Varna, on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, I was reminded of Israel as it was at the end of the 70s, when it was still a developing county. Since then Israel has developed into the start-up nation, an economic powerhouse, a full member of the OECD. This was achieved through the energy of its youthful population, motivated in no small measure by the patriotism and a sense of national purpose. These are the essential tools that any developing country needs to develop and grow. I pray that Bulgaria, freed from the tyranny of Communism, will also become a wealthy country. But I fear it will not, for out of a population of 8 million, 2 million are already living outside the country. What’s more, the patriotic spirit that a country needs to grow and develop is being undermined by a EU philosophy which condemns all nationalism, except for that of the EU itself.
Nigel Lawson, a former Chancellor of the Exchequer, once said that the National Health Service (NHS) was the nearest thing the British had to a religion. For many Remainers (those supporting Britain’s continuing EU membership), the European Union has achieved similar status. It is no coincidence that in the current debate over membership of the EU, the large number of foreign doctors and nurses in British hospitals is mentioned frequently as evidence of the munificence of the EU. It is if two great strands of faith have met up in English hospital wards.
Ironically, it is those on the left of the political spectrum, those educated middle-class socialists, who are most in favour of this modern colonialism. I see no indication that those extolling the virtues of uncontrolled immigration into the UK have ever given a thought to the effect of these policies in the countries providing the workforce.
Unrestricted immigration is a disaster for the poorer countries of Europe; it arrests their development and, not surprisingly, has the most detrimental effect on the poorest. It’s great for the British that they have all these people to staff the NHS, but does anyone give a damn that in Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova and elsewhere, their health services are collapsing form a shortage of doctors and nurses? I would argue that the EU policy of free migration has become the biggest people-trafficking scam in history.
This is how this new imperialism works; the poor countries of the Balkans spend their scarce resources on training health and other professionals, who then leave, tempted by the salaries of the more developed nations of Europe. The UK gets ready-trained health staff on the cheap, and the Bulgarian health service, for example, already struggling to overcome the devastation of the communist years, suffers from ever dropping ratio of medical staff to patients.
There are several academic investigations into the effect of this economic migration from the poorer to the rich countries. All are bad news for the poorer nations. According to an OECD report, “Bulgaria: Country Health Profile 2017”, half of the country’s locally trained GPs live abroad, which leads to a weak primary care and over reliance on hospitals, with over half of the health budget being allocated to pharmaceuticals and inpatient care.
The Bulgarian health services need to treat an ever aging population, with funding reduced by the exit of economically active tax payers. In return, the EU funds a few road building and sewage projects (with huge self-congratulatory billboards all over the place) and puts money into other worthwhile causes, but the real resources of the country (its young educated people) are being drained away to serve the interest of the richer countries.
A European Commission Report entitled “Social Impact of Emigration and Rural-Urban Migration in Central and Eastern Europe – Bulgaria” sums up the situation as follows:
Large-scale emigration of mainly young and active people led to a decline of the labour force in Bulgaria and has the potential for significant effects on the future economic and social development of the country. Migration affects individual sectors of the Bulgarian economy differently; imbalances are noticeable in the health sector, in university education and selected high-tech sectors. Out-migration of health professionals, especially of nurses, is a key challenge for the country. The ratio of nurses to the population has significantly dropped as compared to the situation beginning of the 1990s and it remains far below EU average.”
Families are split apart and the negative impact on children means the damage will be carried over to the next generation. I quote again:
In some locations of Bulgaria children left by migrating parents make up the majority of children and are confronted with higher rates of school drop-outs and behavioural problems. Educational attainment is also problematic among Roma children and children of Turkish origin who migrate with their parents for some periods of time and do not attend school regularly.”
The elderly are particularly vulnerable:
As regards the elderly, migration of family members usually worsens their already difficult situation, characterized by high poverty and lacking access to health and social services, in particular in rural areas. The Roma and members of the Turkish ethnic minority are also specifically affected as they often inhabit such areas of depopulation and deprivation.”
Bulgaria has yet to recover from the ravages of an over-controlled over-centralized economy under Communism. Now, under that new over-controlled economy, known as the EU, the tradition of economic sabotage continues. I believe the business model (if that be the correct term) of unrestrained migration is wrong. The wealthy countries of the EU and EEA should, through investment in industry, agriculture, commerce and tourism in the poorer European countries, encourage the young to stay in their own communities and give their own people the option of a prosperous future in the lands of their birth.
During days of Empire, the British truly believed that their rule of foreign lands was benevolent, bringing governance and economic development to many parts of the underdeveloped world. Likewise, Remainers are convinced of the ultraistic nature of their beloved EU. But in many ways, the British Empire was more caring than the EU, for while Britain exploited the native populations, often ruthlessly, they at least left them with their most valuable resource, their young people.