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EU Integration in Barcelona Nightlife

by Corey

The integration of the European Union has ushered increased globalization into the forefront of the modern age.  Migrants can now move freely within the EUís borders without the hassle and bureaucratic madness associated with securing work visas.  During my travels across Spain, I made my way to the bustling city of Barcelona.  Here the nightlife carries on into the wee hours of the morning, bars and clubs riddling every street.  Humming lights cast shadows across the boulevards and tourists from around the world are scattered throughout the varying neighborhoods and pockets of the city. 

Early in my adventure, I made my way into a bar in the main thoroughfare of the city.  This posh pub was boiling over with international travelers, and American football was even sprayed across the room from the projector in the corner.  I made my way upstairs to see a blonde bartender standing amidst an empty bar, presumably because you couldnít see the screen.  My friends and I sat at the bar and introduced ourselves to what would hopefully be a key local contact.  This blonde smiled as we took our seats and asked what we would have to drink.  My friend began with a Jack Daniels and Coke, apparently a rather typical American drink for here is where the America bashing began.  This overeager and socially awkward bartender was from Sweden.  Upon my prompting, I learned that she had traveled in the EU for a year directly out of high school, that she didnít even need a work visa in Spain, that rent prices were bearable in Barcelona, and that all Americans were spoiled brats.  She quickly guessed where we are from and was surprised when we didnít claim to be from New York or Los Angeles.  I explained that we were traveling from Japan to Spain by ship, which apparently she doesnít consider real traveling.  I guess she doesnít distinguish between the term traveling and backpacking, which we never claimed to be doing.

EU Map

Her volatile demeanor aside, she did serve as an example of the ease of travel and work opportunities within the European Union.  She and her friend had fallen in love with Barcelona during their gap year travel and returned in August of 2006.  The pair apparently walked into the bar, filled out an application, and were hired on the spot Ė and her friend didnít speak a word of Spanish.  When I asked about finding an apartment, she explained that no residency restrictions applied, as has been my experience in such countries as Argentina.  I asked if the EU was exclusive or whether Spanish businesses only hired from other EU countries.  She explained that this was not the case and that the doorman was from Uruguay and American bartenders were downstairs. 

In an ever-shrinking world, the European Union exemplifies the economic opportunities available for those willing to uproot.  In Barcelona, Indian shop owners dominate the souvenir trade and even owned and operated our hostel.  African prostitutes populate the night streets and beckoned from every corner.  Phillipe Fargues explores the negative perception of European immigration in his article entitled ďMigration and Mobility in the Euro-Mediterranean Area.Ē  Noting the flows of Middle Eastern and North African populations and the complexities they impose on overall governance of the EU, Fargues dwells on the challenges imposed by guest workers turned illegal permanent residents.  Illegal or not, these sex working African women form a nook of Barcelonaís international framework.  Migration was all around, in every club, bar, shop and street corner, and EU governments scramble to decide how to achieve the migration goals of a newly formed union.

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