There has been a huge rise in asylum seekers in Bulgaria as a direct result of instability in North Africa and the Middle East. They use Bulgaria as a land entry into the European Union. The Bulgarian tabloid press has coined the phrase “wave”, which has now entered political and popular language. In 2009, the newly-elected government greatly changed the way the law was interpreted and enforced. Before 2010, there was not a single “illegal immigrant” convicted and jailed in the criminal prisons.
If a Catalan Rip Van Winkle were to wake up today after a sleep of only six years, his disorientation with Catalonia would be as great as that of the original Rip Van Winkle after he dozed right through the American War of Independence. “Am I hallucinating?” he might ask, struggling to find the right answer to questions like: