‘Bulgarian Fraud’ Threatens the EU Welfare State?
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  • Actually, it is a stretch to “think that ‘Bulgarian fraud’ is conjuring up images of thieving Roma in the popular Dutch imagination.” There has been no Roma association — AT ALL — in the public debate. What’s at issue is fraud and questions about the responsible undersecretary’s knowledge about it, whether he couldn’t have acted earlier to put a stop to it, etc.

    There is some unease in the Netherlands, informed, perhaps, by a bit of prejudice, about Bulgaria and Romania entering the Schengen area next year, but that has less to do with ethnicity than a perception of these countries as hopelessly backward and corrupt.

    This has nothing to do with the Roma, however. Stereotypes are NOT universal among Western Europeans.

  • Research
    has shown that as long as people drawing welfare are from their own
    ethnic/racial group, the support for welfare remains high. But the
    backing for welfare states starts to wane as those on the dole are
    perceived to be mostly “others”. In that sense Europe’s love for welfare
    state has not really been tested. As Europe becomes more diverse and
    incidents like this proliferate (add to that continued economic
    distress) the continent’s support for generous welfare will be really
    put to test.

  • “where the population of any constituent nation-state is allowed to move and settle wherever they so choose on the continent.”
    Does anyone know of a good history of the EU’s formation, one that discusses the policy arguments and how they were resolved and why one option was picked over another. It seems inconceivable to me that the richer states didn’t contemplate and discuss the likelihood of mass migration from the back-alley states to the toney ones in search of better welfare benefits rather than a better job/life.

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