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Al Jazeera: EU Empire 1/2 : The Business of Colonisation


An interesting look at the way the EU works


Croatian philosopher Srecko Horvat is going on a journey across Europe, searching for the connections between the crises he believes are tearing the continent apart.

Unemployment, debt and an influx of refugees are often pointed to as the causes of a European identity crisis. But, Horvat asks, could they in fact be the results of it?

He travels from Idomeni in Greece, where in 2015 refugees fleeing war and poverty entered Europe, to the dockyards of the Greek port of Pireaus, where workers’ unions say they are fighting a new kind of privatisation, and from Romania, where people are fighting to protect their forests from international investment firms, to the City of London.

Along the way, he argues that the real cause of Europe’s identity crisis stems from the trauma of it colonising itself.

“I think Idomeni is the best metaphor for what’s happening in Europe today,” he reflects. “It shows people, refugees who were fleeing from war, and wars such as Syria – but also Afghanistan and Iraq – became a problem. Why? Because we are at a train track and they were blocking the train track.

“So it became a problem for the corporations, for other countries, not only [for] Greece because this way was blocked.

“So on the one hand what you can see is refugees don’t have the right to move freely, [while] on the other hand goods can move freely as far and as much as they want.”

How, he asks, can this colonial process of dispossession be taking place on such a massive scale without becoming headline news?

The answer, he explains, is that: “This 21st century colonialism doesn’t ride into town waving a national flag, it just seems to happen.”

“But it’s actually the result of institutions and rules that are designed to be hidden.”

It is those institutions and rules that Horvat hopes to expose in Europe’s Forbidden Colony.

In this episode Horvat talks Syrian refugee Mustafa al Hamoud, Greek dock workers Anastasia Frantzeskaki and Georgios Gogos. Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, privatisation expert Dr David Hall, Romanian lawyer Bogdan Tudor Todoran.

Environmental activist Hans Hedrich, Sociologist Saskia Sassen, Welsh steel worker Mark Turner, Eurotunnel spokesperson John Keefe, Green MEP Jean Lambert, Hungarian philosophers Agnes Heller and Gaspar Tamas, and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

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