The Perils of “United Europe”

Letter From Prague

A visitor to Prague in the immediate aftermath of the Czech Republic’s formal entry into the European Union will find few outward signs that something rather momentous has taken place.  Your documents are still checked at the border crossing as you drive into the country from Germany; the koruna (crown) is still the legal tender; and the gold-and-blue E.U. logo does not yet adorn any Czech license plates.

There are other, more important, visible distinctions.  Compared with most of her Western European partners in the Union, Bohemia is still remarkably monoethnic and monoracial—which may help explain why Prague is one of the safest and cleanest capital cities in Europe.  Unlike those of Rome or Paris, its magnificent squares are mercifully free of the street “merchants” from Lagos and pickpockets from Tirana.

This may change soon, however, according to Michael Semin, executive director of the Civic Institute.  I met this youthful-looking father of five when I came to Prague as a guest of the Institute to attend its conference “Can the West Be Defended?” and found in Mr. Semin a Euro-skeptic who sees no reason for celebration.  He predicts that the new, postcommunist members of the European Union will no longer be the masters of their own borders and will not be able to control who will settle in their lands: “We will have to adjust completely to...

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