The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 1, 2012

Our View: Land mines on borders

The Joplin Globe

— There is a political party in Greece known as Golden Dawn that wants to plant land mines on the country’s borders to protect against “illegal immigrants.”

Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party in the Netherlands, last week brought down the government by refusing to support the euro currency of exchange.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the right-of-center incumbent candidate being opposed by Socialist Party candidate Francois Hollande in France, is considering closing French borders once again. Most European borders were opened when the European Union was established about 30 years ago.

The tide of nationalism, as opposed to European unity, is very much on the rise all over that continent today. Debt, unemployment and immigration are key issues forcing popular sentiment to call for more protection within traditional national borders.

In our view, the debt in many countries within the European Union is the major force behind such rising nationalism. Rich countries no longer want to bail out the poor ones. As well, immigration from countries such as Poland into the Netherlands — economically driven immigration with people looking for better jobs — is creating tension.

Most of the evident tension and dissent within the European Union began in about 2008 with the worldwide recession. The economic and nationalistic forces in Europe continue to accelerate today, not diminish.

Significant elections in France, Greece and now the Netherlands will be taking place in the coming months, long before our own very important election in November. In January 2013, it will be interesting to look back not at just our own presidential election this year but several others in Europe as well.

We wonder if this might be an overall indication of how Western democracies might decide to change.