MEP Preda: The 'fear of foreigner' matter becomes again a very important political issue in Europe

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MEP Cristian Preda says that "the fear of foreigners" matter has become again a very important political issue in Europe.

"Today, in Europe, in respect to what we institutionally describe as the European Union, the matter of foreigner and, more specifically, the fear of foreigner has become again a very important political issue. It is a concern for the citizens, the foreigner issue and the fear of foreigners concerns citizens in many respects, the issue of the relationship with foreigners lies in the political rhetoric of all political forces, treated in different ways. This matter is also on the agenda of European institutions, whether we are talking about Parliament, (...) European Commission or Council," Cristian Preda stated on Saturday at a debate that was held within the "One World" 2017 Embassies Festival.

He mentioned that the discussion on managing the migration issue monopolized not only a good part of discussions at European level, not only the decisions of European institutions, but also a good part of the national politics of the 28 member states and, in each place, various political forces have build a rhetoric and proposed policies regarding migration.

In his opinion, what it's more surprising is that the fear of foreigners has been transferred from the fear of migrants, identified with Muslims or Islamists, to other Europeans.

"Over the last years, in parallel to the fear of the completely different foreigner, the Muslim migrant (...) the fear of other Europeans was introduced in the national political debates and in the decisions taken by governments, included on the electoral agendas. (...) Brexit is fundamentally a response of a British majority to the fear of other Europeans. Eastern Europeans were considered to be undesirable to a greater extent than, for instance, a migrant from Bangladesh," Cristian Preda stated.

According to him, a new form of cleavage between east and west was installed, which recently was widely debated in the matter of detached workers.

In her turn, Director General of the European Institute of Romania Gabriela Dragan also claimed that the world we are living in has multiple fears.

In this context, Gabriela Leu with the Romanian Representation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) believes that a dialog between cultures is possible as long as the necessary resources are found for creating bridges, in order to distinguish between what is false and true, as long as there is the strength to understand that certain pieces of information circulating in the public space about refugees are false.

This year's edition talks about "how Bucharest can become a world in a world for four days," according to organisers.

The Embassies Festival is an event produced by the ESCU Association, co-funded by the National Cultural Fund Administration and the Bucharest City Hall through ARCUB, within the cultural programme called Bucharest—Participatory city 2017, organised under the patronage of the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) and the National Commission for UNESCO, in partnership with the City Hall of District 3, the Tourism Ministry, the Ministry of Culture and National Identity, the Romanian Cultural Institute, the Department for Interethnic Relations of Romania's Government. AGERPRES (RO — author: Iulia Carciog, editor: Andreea Rotaru; EN — editor: Rodica Ionita)

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