‘Courses can’t turn migrants into Europeans overnight, customs difficult to change’

‘Courses can’t turn migrants into Europeans overnight, customs difficult to change’
People entering Europe on a massive scale have different cultural backgrounds, says Prof. Laszlo Maracz of the University of Amsterdam. Western constitutions guarantee individual rights – something that can’t be learned overnight, he added.

At least 18 women reported being groped by a group of men of “foreign appearance” at a New Year’s celebration in Innsbruck, Austria. 

RT: A number of measures were taken all over Europe after last year’s Cologne sex attacks, like sex education for migrants, rape alarms being handed out, brochures on sexual etiquette, and so on. Are these measures enough to stop such incidents from happening?

Laslo Moratz: It is obviously a cultural pattern. We know from cultural studies that culture tradition, informal customs are very difficult to change. So I am not hopeful about this sort of fresh courses to make European citizens. People who are entering Europe on a massive scale have a different culture. They are from a different cultural background; they are from different religions. It is clearly a tense situation with our European way of life that has been built on individualism. Our constitutions guarantee individual rights, and this is not the thing which you can learn overnight. 

RT: Obviously Merkel’s open door policies are not working. But what can be done? There are hundreds of thousands of economic migrants and refugees in Europe already and you can’t just round them up and send them home. Or you can? 

LM: Obviously the migrant policy has to change. It can no longer be an open door policy, because it is threatening the European way of life. What is the end of New Year’s and Silvester [celebrations] – sexual harassment? We had this discussion, I remember very well, almost a year ago. We will have it next year, and the year after. And there will be more fortress Colognes; there will be more police, there will be more security measures – it will not be enough. So it is clear that security chain itself is weak, and at the beginning of this chain there is a number of problems. Then we have to go to the migration policy. 

It cannot go on in this way – it has to change. There is a number of ways to do it. I think we need to have hotspots outside Europe, where people are being checked, being controlled, where we can fix their identities. So to bring people in and to build up a ‘fortress Europe’ inside Europe is clearly the wrong way to go.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.