Aaah, doncha love that smell of Berlin hypocrisy in the morning?
Yes, we will all pull together for you unfortunate Untermenschen living in places where German towels must come first at 5.31 when the sun rises.
The Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper has just published a somewhat embarrassing directive from the BundesRepublik Labour Ministry to the Federal Employment Agency – dated February 23 2012 – which stops those entering Germany from 14 EU countries from claiming the basic unemployment benefit – ‘Hartz IV’.
The European Union countries banned include Greece, Spain and Portugal. Well I never. This has led the German media to interpret the move as an attempt to head off people moving to Germany before they have found work. (No, really?)
Up until now, immigrants from the 17 signatories to the European Convention on Social and Medical Assistance (EFA), signed in 1953, were entitled to claim unemployment benefit in each other’s countries while they looked for work. Germany just unilaterally ended this agreement.
Er, well – not really: Germany never obeyed the EFA in the first place: EU immigrants have only been able to claim benefits in Germany since October 2010 anyway – and only then because a French man used the EFA agreement to claim the right in a federal court. Since then, the German mind has been at work on the problem of ignoring EU legislation it doesn’t like….and this is the result.
The opposition said it was mystified by the ministry’s decision. “The number of immigrants that start claiming Hartz IV as soon as they arrive is almost zero,” Elke Ferner, deputy parliamentary chairwoman of the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) told the Frankfurter Rundschau.
Ach so jah, Elke my little Schnitzel, but we Germans must always think ahead: now our Troika panzers have pauperised the swarthy ones, they must be kept in ze camps. Indeed, the German Employment Office described the Labour Ministry’s move as a “preventative measure.”
In Deutschland ist alles immer klar, nicht?
I’m sorry yet again to resort to cardboard German gags here. I suspect the solution is for Germans to grow a third dimension called ‘reflection’. Or ‘second thoughts’. Or ‘Are we all in the same boat, or is the German version a battleship, and the Greek version a tramp steamer confined to port?’
The trouble with we English is that we moan all the time in the EU, and then obey the rules to the letter. We should adopt to Franco-German approach of zero moaning and then ignoring the Brussels bollocks entirely.
Or, of course, leave the EU entirely. No hang on a minute – we couldn’t do that. That’s what mad people think. The BBC says so, so it must be true. After all, anyone who wants to leave the EU is a rather unpleasant middle England fascist, right? I mean, that’s what it says in the Guardian. And it’s what they say in Camerlot: “Our future is inextricably linked to that of Europe”.
“Suit yourselves,” says the eurocrats every time we opt out of something. Suiting ourselves is precisely what we should’ve been doing for the last thirty years.