Monday, August 21, 2006

Polish emigration bad for Europe?

Came across this very basic, and basically wrong, article that insinuates that Polish migrant workers are bad for Europe. Reasons given?

Well, first, Poland is "exporting its unemployment". What a bizzare way of looking at it. Poles that go to Britain or Ireland are usually not taking the kinds of jobs that local were hopping to take. They usually grab the low-paying manual labor tasks or take on positions, such as in the medical field, where there were local shortages in th first place. Has the unemployment gone down in Poland? Yes. Did this bring measureably higher unemployment to other European countries? I seriously doubt that.

Second idea is even more wacky: " Many troublemakers and criminals have left Poland for Western Europe. The crime rate in Polish cities is down." The article has a link in the Irish Examiner, but it's not working, so hard to say what "proof" of this there is. Just saying that the crime rate in Polish cities is down does in no way indicate that this is because "the troublemakers and criminals" are all hanging out in Ireland or Britain. The more obvious link is that there is less crime because the unemployment is down. More work, less need to steal, etc. Are there a few bad apples out there who left Poland for Ireland? Sure, but this is no indication of a wide scale exodus of criminals. For Poland's sake, I wish that were true.

But to play up silly thesis like this is ridiculous and only feeds the nasty stereotypes of Poles spread by the xenophobes throughout Europe. Mind-boggling stuff. Who comes up with this BS???

1 comment:

georgesdelatour said...

Hi Chris - great blog.

I'm a Brit married to a Pole, living in London. The evidence of "Polonization" (is that a real word?) is everywhere. I hear Polish spoken everywhere, see Indian-owned shops stocking up on Polish sausage, beer & herring, posters in Polish for Polish hip-hop concerts in London. At least in London, I don't see any obvious downside. I suspect most Poles in London don't intend to migrate permanently to the UK. They're probably mostly trying to earn money for the deposit on an apartment back home. Still, many of them have already adjusted to the UK far better than other groups who've been here far, far longer.

The numbers of Polish workers in the UK is astonishing. I went to visit my mother, in the Yorkshire Dales, went into a remote village pub, and discovered the entire bar staff were Polish.

But this exodus must cause problems back in Poland. Friends in Krakow tell me its hard to get plumbers, because they're all in the UK. More worrying, there are shortages of medical staff (especially anesthetists). And what about the behavior of UK/Irish people going to Poland? Binge-drinking Brits and Irish go for stag nights to Krakow, annoying at least some of the locals, while the British/Irish middle classes are buying up the best property, forcing up house prices for locals.