OPINION

Risky imported notions

The positive side of the violent disturbances that have broken out in the suburbs of numerous French cities is that the European Union must collectively face the issue of economic migrants. The events in France and, to a lesser extent, other European countries show that the attempt to reduce labor costs encouraging migrants to come to Europe creates substantial dangers, which likely nullify any efforts to ensure greater competitiveness in the new global economy. Migrants are certainly not the only ones affected by the economic crisis plaguing EU countries, but the Muslims living in Europe are both the most radicalized and the most unwilling to assimilate. The youths committing acts of vandalism and terrorizing the public in French cites were born, like most of their parents, in France and are French citizens, but live in ghettos – out of necessity or choice – instead of integrating into neighborhoods around the city. Ethnic and religious ghettos create the false impression of a protective network, but they also reinforce a sense of «otherness,» which no liberal approach can overcome. The predominance of liberal thinking led to the erroneous notion that it was enough to stick to certain Enlightenment principles – which happen to have been born in France – in order to ensure harmonious coexistence in a secular state. The crisis that has struck France negates that logic, which only applies in times of general material prosperity. Ethnic cleansing of Europe is no solution. Also, any attempt to appease ethnic or religious communities will only create resistance from the ethnic majority of each country. Europe must stop serving as a testing ground for imported notions, whether they concern the nature of society in EU member states or models of economic development.