Keynote on immigration - V. Klaus

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immigrazione001Václav Klaus, Introductory notes at the presentation of the book Comprendere L´Immigrazione, Nazione Futura, Hotel Savoy, Roma, March 9, 2019 

Many thanks for bringing us to Rome and for organizing today´s presentation of our book devoted to the most significant phenomenon of our times, to the issue of mass migration. We consider it, of course, the most significant phenomenon in a negative sense. We consider it a threat to us, a threat to our European civilization.

Both of us, Dr. Weigl and me, would like to express our gratitude to Francesco Giubilei and the Nazione Futura which made the publication of the Italian version of our book possible. The book presented here today was written by me and by my long-term colleague and collaborator Jiří Weigl in the right moment, in the autumn of 2015. Originally written in Czech, it has already eight foreign language editions. We are honoured that – starting today – the Italian language is one of them. 

Our intention at that moment was to enter into polemics with the false and purposefully misleading interpretation of the European migration crisis which didn´t fall from heavens but has been organized by the European and especially the EU political and intellectual elites. As we see it, the views of these people are based on the aprioristic, progressivist, politically correct assumption that mass migration is a positive social phenomenon, or to put it differently, that it is normal to migrate. We strongly disagree. 

The experience of mankind is that it is normal not to migrate. We consider it normal to accept the country one was born in with all its pluses and minuses, it is normal to identify oneself with it and to take it as a highly respected homeland. Migration has to be considered an extraordinary exception, an extreme solution to one´s personal existential problems, a failure to solve it in a usual or normal way.

We would like to be well understood. The topic of our book is not the individual migration, the slow, non-disruptive, sufficiently humble and non-aggressive migration of individuals known for centuries and millennia. Our book is devoted to the issue of mass migration, to the currently – as politically correct considered – artificially stimulated mass movements of hundreds of thousands or millions of people from other continents. I am convinced that the formulation ‘artificially stimulated’ is more appropriate than an alternative formulation: not sufficiently opposed. 

Mass migration – as the Italian experience confirms – inevitably creates substantial cultural, social and political conflicts, shocks and tensions. It undermines the structure of society in individual countries that has gradually developed for centuries and millennia, it undermines the culture, habits, customs, behavioural patterns, ways of life of their citizens.

It is necessary – in this era of confusion, supplemented by the tyranny of political correctness – to be clear and straightforward. Even the serious, moderate and thoughtful European politicians have a very strange ambition – they want to “manage” migration. No! The only relevant and meaningful effort is “to stop the mass migration” or “to minimize it”. It should be understood and accepted that – as we explain in our book – Europe doesn´t need any mass migration. Europe needs something else, Europe needs a radical metamorphosis, it should be returned to its traditions, to the rational and democratic political and economic systems. Europe should get rid of the tenets of the post-modern progressivistic era. 

The phenomenon of mass migration has been justified and defended by European political elites on the basis of the unacceptable and intellectually untenable doctrine of multiculturalism. We argue in our book that the allegedly unexpected events of 2015 were in reality prepared (if not organized) by the followers of this doctrine. 

The current European conflict about migration between political elites and normal citizens must not be interpreted as a conflict between humanism and xenophobia, as a conflict between solidarity and egoism, as a conflict between good guys and bad guys. It is something else. It is a conflict between liberals who believe in freedom together with conservatives who believe in the nation state on the one hand and those who don´t share these beliefs on the other. 

We also consider it as an undeniable truth that for countries to function they need a minimum (which is not low) degree of homogeneity and unity, not a maximum of heterogeneity (and diversity). The ideology of multiculturalism suggests and glorifies the opposite.

The current migration wave to Europe has been made possible by the fact that the EU borders have been open and unprotected for a long time and that they remained open even after all what has been going on since 2015. In spite of that, European politicians continue to believe in the half-baked and ill-conceived utopian idea of Schengen which has proved to be fundamentally wrong and untenable. Borderless societies can´t exist.

We follow with great interest the Italian stance to the current mass migration which has been recently developed due to the courageous and reasonable position of the new Italian government. It was Italy which was the first EU country to close its ports as a method, as a way to stop the trafficking and smuggling of people onto its soil. Italy started to defend its country, its territory, its state. We congratulate you to it. Even though this behaviour is not favoured in Brussels, this courage is much needed. I can assure you that the Central European countries, so called Visegrad group of countries, look at it the same way. We all should explain and relentlessly defend this position in the EU debates. We should try to cooperate.   

We, the Czechs, have not yet forgotten the totally failed communist experiment similar in nature to the current migration project – including the unauthentic solidarity forced from the outside, the calls for self-sacrifice in the name of the future, and the attempts to create a new species, a new, truly European man, Homo Bruxellarum. The experience of ours helps us to see that the current migration wave is a project, not an accident, not a spontaneous evolution.

We are convinced that the contemporary migration crisis is connected with the post-democratic character of the EU. The current migration crisis is a by-product of the long-existing European crisis, of the systemic errors and misconceptions of European policies, of the built-in defects of EU institutional arrangements, and of the ideological confusions and prejudices of European multicultural political elites. We criticise them, not the migrants. We criticise them and eventually us – for our inability and lack of courage to radically oppose the current European way of thinking, the current European politically correct paradigm of progressivism and of multiculturalism. 

All of that is the topic of our short book written in a week in October 2015. Let me use the remaining time for saying a few words about our part of Europe. We are very sorry that some Cold War clichés have been stubbornly used all the time. One of the most dangerous clichés is the continuous talking about Western and Eastern Europe.  

The dividing line in Europe now is not between East and West. The dividing line is between democrats in all European countries and the arrogant political, intellectual, academic, journalistic elites which try to mastermind our societies, to get rid of democracy, elections, and referenda and to introduce a post-democratic and post-political system. The dividing line in Europe these days is not a geographical one. The line is between those who see the coming threats connected with multiculturalism, political correctness, genderism and mass migration and those who don’t see them or are even conscious and intentional supporters of these tendencies.

What we experienced in the communist era was in many respects tragic but we also learned a lot. As a result of it, we don’t take freedom and democracy as something given or granted. We are sensitive, perhaps oversensitive in this respect. That is the reason why we see the current tendencies in the EU in a rather critical way.

We are in favour of a maximum of friendship and of friendly and fruitful cooperation among the European countries. We are in favour of European integration but we are not happy with the European unification project which started with the Maastricht Treaty and reached its peak in the Lisbon Treaty. These treaties and the subsequent developments finalized the historic, for me very problematic, metamorphosis of the European continent from integration into unification. The ambition is to get rid of the nation-state, which is something we can´t accept.

In your letter you also mentioned “emerging populism” in Eastern Europe. Again, that’s not how I see it. I don’t see any emerging populism in Central Europe that would be worth discussing. To speak about populism is just a political statement, not an analytical one. It is easy to call anyone who doesn´t agree with the official EU doctrine a populist. I did and would do various things differently from Polish leader Kaczyński or Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán but to call these popular, democratically elected leaders populists is unacceptable for me. I know personally especially the second one. He is a genuine politician, a Homo Politicus, nothing else. The current habit to extensively use the label “populist” is a way to avoid serious analysis.


klausVaclav Klaus

Former President of Czech Republic