At 19:30 EET on Monday the 6th April 2015, The Red House presented a debate on the relationship between economic migrants and populist politics. This event was free to attend and took place in Bulgarian in The Red House’s Red Hall at 15 Ljuben Karavelov St., 1142 Sofia.
About the debate:
The image of economic migrants from the south-eastern fringes of the EU has regularly been manipulated by populist media and politicians in the union’s more prosperous states. Accusations which play up the competition which these migrants pose within local job markets and suggest widespread foreign abuse of local social security systems are used to demonise immigrants and to foster distrust in governments, promoting the insinuation that they are incapable of protecting their citizens from these external “threats”. Curiously, however, these methods are not just restricted to the populists in Europe’s north-west, but can also be seen in practice within more recent member states, where both nationalist and populist figures share a distrust of the EU and of international conventions on human rights. Bulgarian nationalists say, for example, that the state is incapable of managing migratory flows and propagate the suspicion that the EU merely wants to use Bulgaria as a buffer zone, demanding that a wall be built along the country’s borders to keep out refugees.
In this debate, The Red House therefore compared the mechanisms which populists and nationalists use to spread fears of refugees and economic migrants. They analysed how people of other nationalities are stereotyped and sought to discover, whether the creation of such stereotypes stems from more fundamental anxieties and a deeper-seated distrust of the institutions of the modern state. Ultimately, the evening’s speakers sought to determine how we can all better deal with existing fears and move beyond their mere condemnation.
Neda Deneva took her PhD in sociology and social anthropology at the Central European University of Budapest, whereshe wrote her dissertation on Assembling Fragmented Citizenship: Bulgarian Muslim Migrants at the Margins of Two States. Since 2013, she has been researching the economic migration of Roma peoples from Shoumen, Bulgaria to the Netherlands. In the course of her research, she has been published by Social Politics, Migrations Societé and Bulgarian Folklore. Her articles have also featured on Migration Online’s website and from 2010-2011 she was an ERSTE Foundation fellow specialising in social research.
Constantina Kouneva is a Bulgarian immigrant in Greece, a trade unionist and secretary of the Greek Trade Union of Cleaners and Housekeepers. Her unionist work led to her being attacked with sulphuric acid in 2008, an event which sparked protests and clashes with the Greek police during subsequent civil unrest in Greece. She was elected as an MEP in the 2014 European Parliament elections and represents Greece and SYRIZA in Brussels. Before moving to Greece, Constantina graduated from the St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo with a degree in history.
Yavor Siderov currently advises Bulgaria’s deputy prime minister, Meglena Kouneva, on migratory issues. In this role, he is responsible for co-ordinating the production of a new government strategy for the integration of refugees and migrants. Formerly, he was one of most active members of the Friends of the Refugees activist network, which provided support to refugees during the immigration crisis in Bulgaria in 2013. Yavor has also worked as a producer and newsreader with Bulgarian National Radio and the BBC’s World Service, as well as as a professor of political studies at the American University of Blagoevgrad.
Европейската мрежа на центровете за дебат „Време да говорим” представя: Усилва ли миграцията недоверието към институциите? 6 април (понеделник) 2015, 19:30 ч, Червена зала. На български език и вход свободен.
Образът на българския работник-мигрант се оказва „гориво” за страхове, разпалвани от популистки медии и политици във Великобритания, Холандия и другаде. Той за пореден път предизвика недоверие и обвинения към правителствата на тези държави, че не правят достатъчно, за да защитят остатъците социална държава от чужди нашественици. Парадоксално, огледални страхове към чужденеца се разпалват от националисти и популисти и в България. Националистите не вярват, че държавата може да се справи с бежанския натиск; подозират, че ЕС използва България като буферна зона и искат плътното ограждане на границата със стена. Те изпитват недоверие в ЕС и в международните конвенции за човешките права, които България е ратифицирала. С този дебат ще се опитаме да сравним механизмите на производство и употреба на страховете от бежанците и работниците-мигранти. Ще анализираме как се създават стереотипите срещу “чужденците ” и дали са симптом на по-фундаментални тревоги и недоверие към институциите на съвременната държавата? Какво противодействие можем да търсим, отвъд заклеймяването им?
С участието на:
Костадинка Кунева – евродепутат от СИРИЗА.
Неда Денева – изследовател на трудовата миграция.
Явор Сидеров – съветник на вицепремиер Меглена Кунева за бежанците
Представител на “Приятели на бежанците”.
С подкрепата на Фондация „Отворено общество“ – Ню Йорк