It was several years ago now in Krakow, taking an early evening wander from my hotel to the studenty bars of the Kazimierz, that I noticed an English-language plaque on the gateposts of an attractive period house next to the surviving synagogue on Miodowa. It was, naturally, the Prince of Wales' foundation for something - arts, architecture whatever. I expect there's one in every city in Europe; the Crown Prince, in between visits to the dressing-up box at home, is an inveterate private European traveller. He has a cottage in Transylvania and no doubt a modest castle on the Rhine. Good on him. In promoting his view of what's truly sustainable and what's not I'm very much on his wavelength - as is Adam Aldridge, as Archers listeners may be aware.
Whilst modern agribusiness scoffed at Bulgaria's horse drawn carts, small mixed farms and market gardens, subsistence smallholdings, hens in every yard and so on, wiser minds now realise that such methods may not create profitable agri-exports but neither do they devastate the land and soil. Turning 50 small farms into a vast perpetual Rape field worked by a single gigantic 12 foot high tractor and chemically dosed with food and poisons doesn't provide great employment possibilities, either.
And just as Heineken is busy acquiring not breweries but water sources across Europe, the global corporates and insurance funds are busy creating agrifactories on the borders of Europe. Last week we had a delivery from Trieste; the wagon was registered in Serbia, the driver was Montenegran and for the three days the trip had taken him he was paid €30 a day. We were charged around 25x his total wedge for the transport element. It was more than he could have made at home.
So it's hardly surprising that a third of all asylum seekers reaching Germany now come from Serbia, Albania and Kosovo - fleeing not war or persecution but relative poverty. Thanks to China's industrial revolution, even the poorest corners of Europe now have 3G wireless communication, satellite receivers, LCD screens and access to the interweb; they can see that they wear exactly the same jeans, trainers and hoodies as their counterparts in London, Paris and Berlin and thus are illusions of difference and distance dispersed. Exchanging their €10 a day for our casual labour €100 a day is just a short coach-trip away, and no barriers at all with an EU passport.
And, with sympathy to those in Lincolnshire, Peterborough, Hull or similar, I see nothing wrong in having this freedom of movement within Europe - to work and earn that is, not to chase child benefit. In return the NHS could save billions by flying-out all routine surgery patients to Romania, Croatia or Hungary - it seems reasonable to me that in future one should pay to stay in the UK for a bunion op or a hernia procedure, a new hip or a breast reduction. Terminal Alzheimers sufferers can be cared for in Wroclaw or Poznan just as humanely as in Newcastle or Chester, but for a fraction of the cost. Making sure that everything we do creates sustainable local employment in Eastern Europe is the only way we'll slow the vast numbers heading here from Europe.