Pursuing nothing more noble than their own self-interest, the flood of migrants into southern Europe are hurting Europe - and I mean my Europe, not the evil empire based in Brussels. As Austria tightens its border with Italy, the pain of South Tyrol is again surfacing.
Austria lost the German-inhabited region to Italy after the great war, and from the 1920s onwards Mussolini's fascists ruthlessly Italianicised South Tyrol, including the prohibition of the German language. From 1939, under the Option Agreement, some 80,000 German South Tyroleans moved to conquered Poland. Poor Italians from the Mezzogiorno were given the lush and rich German Alpine farms. It all changed in 1945 when, with the area under Wehrmacht control, the Italians were kicked out and some 50,000 Tyroleans came back from Poland. The 1960s and 1970s saw a Tyrol terrorist campaign that really only lost impetus under two moves - a liberal dual-culture environment with limited self-government, and the abandonment of the border under Shengen.
Up until this week the region's inhabitants, 70% of whom speak German as a mother language, although all are in practice bi-lingual, were quite happy with the lack of a border with Austria. It's a two-way deal; I've been advised to drive half an hour into Italy to buy superlative Italian vegetables. But no-one wants to undergo a customs and passport inspection for 5kg of tomatoes.
So the area's population are very unhappy - and it's all caused by the Pakistanis, Moroccans, Afghans and the like who are after Euro money and a better life now crashing into Southern Europe.
For anyone interested, Karin Brandauer's superb film 'Verkaufte Heimat' (avail on YouTube) sensitively explores the complex web of conflicts experienced by the people of the region; sample below