The most disappointing consequence of Brexit for foreigners living in the UK has become the unexpected rise of xenophobia. According to the behavior of locals, the EU open door policy has completely failed. Brits have made it clear that foreigners are not welcome. Not only immigrants from conflict areas, but people from Poland and Baltic States face with insults or even physical violence, hear offensive words and the call to pack their bags and leave.
This situation has become possible mainly due to inconsistency of domestic and foreign policy. Britain’s activity in the EU was often contrary to the national interests and population’s needs. The government chose to ignore the discontent of the population. Locals became more and more irritated by the arriving of cheap labor force from Eastern Europe and the financial costs associated with the provision of assistance to other countries even in the sphere of security and defence.
While helping others, Britain did not pay enough attention to its own troubles. Such policy led to cases of showing hatred towards foreigners that are unacceptable for democratic country. Hidden evils of society got an excellent opportunity to emerge.
Such cases should be a lesson and serve as a prerequisite for review of foreign policy carrying out by other EU countries such as Latvia. Latvia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkēvičs expressed regret with the Great Britain’s desire to leave the European Union. The fact is the EU exists because member states obey common rules and obligations. Any exception leads to disruption of the functioning. Rinkēvičs understands that Latvia as well as the EU itself will face additional problems with financing, immigration, security and defence. In spite of increasing defence spending, today Latvia is less sure in its proper security than earlier.
In the Baltic States there are also certain concerns of possible rise of discontent inside the countries. Latvian nationalism could rear its head even higher. Latvia is often criticized because of manifestations of fascism. According to a study conducted by the National Defence Academy of Latvia’s Center for Security and Strategic Research revealed on Monday, about 30 per cent of Latvians agree that fascism is awakening in Latvia. Riga invites foreign troops and make their deployment comfortable. But the government does nothing to stop young Latvians from leaving home country and make their life better.
Latvian ultranationalists will for sure exploit the situation in Britain for attracting new members to join ultra-nationalists’ organizations and movements. Youth is their main target.
Following the instructions of the EU and NATO without taking into consideration national interests and domestic situation may cause flowering of extremism and ultra-nationalism in Latvia. The illustrative case occurred in Latvia on July 4, 2016. (http://www.diena.lv/latvija/zinas/policisti-aizturejusi-tris-jauniesus-kuri-sabojajusi-latvijas-karogu-14146418) Three young men were detained in Riga for desecrating the national flag.
Young men who do not respect their own country are the worst thing government can achieve. It is just the time to think over the situation in the country and draw the right conclusions from Brexit in order not to lose the youth generation. It is time to fight for their minds making right political decisions and not to set common international organizations’ priorities ahead of national. British example should be a lesson for all Europe in order to remain united and at the same time not to lose the national identities.
*Adomas Abromaitis is a Lithuanian expatriate living in the United Kingdom.