Ilaria Bellacci: It is not Europe that has to be changed…

GMT 15:57 Wednesday ,18 December 2013

 Migrant Voice - Ilaria Bellacci: It is not Europe that has to be changed…

Ilaria Bellacci

My name is Ilaria, I’m Italian and I’m currently studying for an MA in European Studies in one of your “golden triangle” universities. I came here with a baggage full of skills and dreams, as many other migrants did. I am as Italian as the many others that arrive in the UK looking for a new life, a better job, to study or just  to learn English. I am paying university’s fees. I am contributing every day, spending my money, working and doing research. I am as Italian as the huge amounts of tourists that come to Harrods, Oxford Circus, Camden Town, and spend a lot of their Euros in London. But I do get upset sometimes when I see how we migrants are portrayed and talked about as a burden. Recently you said that “the European Union has to be changed” because “there should not be a freedom of movement to claim,". I may be a little bit biased in saying so, but it has been there for almost 57 years and I am not the only one to claim that it has been an amazing achievement. Could you imagine your country without migrants? Could you imagine it without just all the European migrants? …Without all the Greeks, the Spanish, the Irish, the Italians that make your country run? You will have no Feta cheese in your supermarkets, no paella in Convent Garden, no Guinness (no Irish pubs!), no pizza. According to UKCISA, there were more than 8,000 Italian students in 2011-2012 in the UK, 16,000 Germans and 13,000 French. International students overall contribute £12.5 billion per year to the UK economy according to the National Union of Students. A recent study by UCL of migrants' contributions over the last decade found that the UK has benefited fiscally from immigrants from EEA countries, who have put in considerably more in taxes and contributions than they received in benefits and transfers. We, European and International workers, students and families, bring our skills, our diverse backgrounds, our cultures and we contribute life in the UK. Walk down a typical street in London and you see everyone enjoying the Italian, Spanish, Lebanese, Chinese restaurants alongside the pubs and chippies. Italian fashion… Just have a walk down King’s Road or near Oxford Circus. Interesting contributions have been made in business as well: “start-ups” are the newest frontiers of business that Italians, as much as the other migrants, are happy to discover:  Monoidics for example, invented Infer, a software that finds critical bugs in other systems; Smappo is an event network for events management, and KeepInTouch is useful for schools and universities that want to stay in contact with ex-alumni. Again, these are just few examples, coming only from Italian minds. We are not here to claim benefits. Usually we are here to claim that dignity that is denied at home. We are here to express our genius and creativity freely and without constraints. We are here to demonstrate that the founding fathers of the EU were very ‘long sighted’ and we want to maintain, perpetuate and improve their ambitious project. It is not the European Union that has to be reformed… it is populism - and attempting to gain votes by scapegoating others.    


Powered and Developed by FilmMatters

Copyright © 2018 Migrant Voice