Foreign Policy Blogs

Europe's growing double standards

Penelope Chester wrote a post today that I highly recommend on the double standards increasingly demonstrated by European countries, especially France. One clear example is when it comes to issues of immigration. On the recent call by France and Italy to revise the Schengen Agreement that allows people to cross the borders of member states freely because of growing numbers of migrants from North Africa, she has this to say:

I find this infuriating. On the one hand Italy and France are actively engaged in supporting liberation forces in Libya, and have made grandiloquent statements about the need for people to enjoy freedom and the necessity for reform to take place in undemocratic countries. The ongoing unrest across North Africa has created massive human displacement and forced people to leave their homes, their countries. Once these people reach European shores, though, the story is different. All of a sudden, they are the scourge of the Earth and no country wants to take them in. How’s that for a double standard?

There is no question that Europe appears to see itself in the midst of an identity crisis about what it should become, with minority groups – be it racial, ethnic, or religious – feeling the brunt of that blowback. It is an issue that this blog among many others have tried to analyze but still goes largely unreported in the media. The recent ban on burqas and niqabs in France brought attention to a small portion of the larger issue, but that is not enough. If we are to achieve real tolerance for the “others” in society and real solutions to the problems that face us in the 21st century, the current lack of those things is what we need to be talking about now.



Kimberly J. Curtis

Kimberly Curtis has a Master's degree in International Affairs and a Juris Doctor from American University in Washington, DC. She is a co-founder of The Women's Empowerment Institute of Cameroon and has worked for human rights organizations in Rwanda and the United States. You can follow her on Twitter at @curtiskj

Areas of Focus: Transitional justice; Women's rights; Africa