Friday, 8 February 2008

Not Immigrants Any Longer

A friend of mine was early to react to and stir up a discussion about a populist poster used in the campaign for the March 9 elections to the Spanish Parliament. It is Mr Duran i Lleida, representing the usually relatively liberal CiU, who when talking about immigrants makes the statement that '...a Catalunya no hi cap tothom’ ( Catalonia there is not room for everyone).

The leader of conservative Partido Popular, Mariano Rajoy, must have seen this as a threat and during the last few days he has been working hard to win the xenophobe vote. His latest proposal is, in short, to set up contracts between immigrants and Spain. People will be allowed to come here to work, but will be requested to integrate in society while they are here, and leave again if one day they would find themselves without a job.

The pre-election campaign has just started so there will be plenty of reasons to come back to how the different parties see immigration as such. But what I do find a bit amusing is that people like myself, resident foreigners from EU countries, do not seem to count as immigrants, not even as foreigners, any longer. Judging by how these two words are being used by Rajoy, they can only refer to no comunitarios (citizens from outside the EU).

Does Rajoy already see all EU citizens as his fellow countrymen? Not only would that be a very progressive stance for a conservative party, he would also immediately win the hearts of Spain’s many Romanian immigrants. What a shame they are not allowed to vote.


Anna Malaga said...

Hello Erik! ;-)
Well, Rajoy could just grab two or three hundred contracts and sit and wait on the Barbate Beach in Cadiz!! Or maybe he could convince the land owners i Almeria to make sure that their workers take spanish classes after 12 hours' work.

Erik Wirdheim said...

You are so right, Anna.

So far Rajoy has not talked to much about the extra police resources needed to track down all illegal immigrants and what a hostile image such actions will give to Spain.

Fortunately enough, his proposals are being ridiculed also by right wing commentators. "What does he mean by integration - that foreigners start to take siestas, stop eating breakfast, and honk the horn constantly when driving a car?", I heard one of them ask.