Immigration from the relatively poorer EU countries (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Romania) forms the crux of the debate about the EU referendum. These were former communist countries behind the infamous ‘Iron Curtain’ which came down in the 1990s (excluding East Germany for the purpose of this discussion). What people are literally saying is this curtain should go up again or we will leave the EU zone.
My theory is that overall prosperity is better than a rich-poor divide. The aim of the EU in incorporating these countries into the common market is to boost prosperity and reduce chaos in them. Yes it triggered an exodus in countries like Poland, but also the UK and other richer EU countries can now export into 28 countries (up from the initial 17 pre-2004). Its a win-win situation. Polish economy has benefitted immensely from EU support since their ascension in 2004.
I believe the happier your neighbours, the safer you are. Imagine these countries still living in the past with widespread poverty, conflict, crime and chaotic governance, and living right on the doorstep of western Europe. It would be like building a castle next to a volcano.
Image at top of article: Wawell Castle and Cathedral in Krakow, Poland