Saturday, September 1, 2007

Abolish visa regulations!

Living in Moldova there is one single political issue that bothers me more and more every hour. The totally unfair restrictions on Moldovans freedom of movement. I know that Moldovans are neither the first, the last or the only ones that need a visa to go to Europe, USA or the western world. It's still; unfair, and my stance is that visa regulations should be abolished for all citizens.

Moldova is repeatedly named as the poorest country in Europe, and even though I don't think that these statistics say much about the living standards in Moldova compared to e.g. Albania or Montenegro, for sure it is a very poor country. The Moldovan web page claimed one and a half year ago that the average wage is a littler more than 100 dollars ( I would guess this is still more or less true. In a country where many people have to buy drinking water, cars are more expensive than in Germany, a liter of milk costs 50 eurocent and people may pay 200 EUR a month for their flat, this is obviously impossible to live from. And people don't live from it. If you want to live in Moldova money has to come from somewhere else, the west or Moscow. The Moldovans, like so many other people in the world simply have to go abroad to work, if they want to have a chance to sustain a family. And they go.

These economical forces are paired by dreams of something more than simply maintaining existance, to travel and enjoy life. They are much stronger than any government, neither western liberal governments or Moldovas ruling communist party are able to stop it. This is globalization. The Moldovans will come to Europe, and what European citizens and governments should do is to consider how we receive them.

Do we want a huge proletariat without papers working without any rights, without any possibilities to form trade unions, unable to be protected by police or to enjoy our fancy hospitals? Clearly some people would benefit from this - the kind of capitalists you can find in Dickens novels. They still exist. They are still scum. The easiest way to create such a proletariat is to demand visa regulations and force Moldovans to travel and stay illegally in the west.

Do we want to keep and develop democracy? To organize society against exploitation? Then give these people that come the legal right to stay. Only then can they organize and stand up for their rights. This should especially be a concern for European trade unions - to have a large illegal work force will inevitably press the wags for the legal work force. The employees shares from company profits have diminished the last decades. Only if we secure the rights of those with the lowest wages can this trend be turned.

This is not to mention all the other shameful consequences from the visa regulations. The frustrations among educated Moldovans who need a bigger arena and more impulses to develop and use their abilities. The sheer impossibility to go to Romania for a weekend, a country two hours away where people speak your language. People suffer from this.

Maybe the bigger source of suffering is the injustice that if your parents were Romanians or Bulgarians you're free to go, if they're Russians or forgot to apply for a Romanian citizenship in the nineties you're imprisoned here, or have to go illegally. I see nothing bu grave injustice in this. Abolish visa regulations!

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