BRINGING BACK BORDERS

If the euro zone is stagnant, Britain leaves and Europeans can no longer travel freely, citizens might then ask: what exactly is the point of the EU?
The Economist, 19 September 2015
D

rama at Europe’s borders often foreshadows momentous change: the Soviet blockade of Berlin in 1948 foreshadowed the Cold War; the dismantling of a Hungarian fence bordering Austria in 1989 foreshadowed the end of Soviet rule in Eastern Europe; and, now, the reimposition of border controls by Germany and Austria could be foreshadowing the erosion of the Schengen free-travel zone. The Schengen zone is one of Europe’s greatest achievements. For the past two decades, Europeans and legal visitors have been able to travel throughout twenty-six participating countries without being troubled by customs or passport controls. Schengen makes travel faster and easier and is used as tangible evidence of the ever-closer unity of the European Union. However, is that union an outdated pipe dream? Schengen is truly only a partial act of integration, for migration policies and policing remain regulated by the individual European nations themselves. In addition, as with the euro, outside events have destabilized the system and damaged relations between member nations. Schengen allows the suspension of travel for extraordinary events or crisis. During the recent refugee crisis, Germany broke the unspoken taboo against suspending free-travel; other nations will now have fewer qualms about following suit. Ultimately, this will lead to a breakdown of the Schengen zone. The idea that EU leaders can act in the common interest of others will have suffered yet another blow. A crucial, distinctly European freedom will be lost if the zone is dismantled — and if intervention and compromise do not occur between member states, this is exactly what will happen.

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How The Schengen Area Was Created || BBC News

Debate: Related Articles
Three Different Perspectives on the Same Issue. Click on the title to see more
History And Significance Of The Bonder-Free ZoneLife After SchengenResurrecting European Borders

The prospect of widespread border checks within the EU’s internal border-free zone has raised serious questions about the resilience of Schengen. In particular, the migration crisis has exposed the flawed logic of setting up a common travel area without a functioning common asylum and immigration policy.Suzanne Lynch, The Irish Times, 15 September 2015

At the same time, reversing a once-cherished policy would prove that the EU, far from being trapped by some utopian ideology, can adapt to changing circumstances in a thoughtful and pragmatic manner. Reculer pour mieux sauter – backing up in order to jump better – is, after all, a time-honored and very European principle.Bill Emmott, Project Syndicate, 1 October 2015

No country can count on being spared a refugee crisis in the future. Governments across the world need to re-think the role of borders and their historical significance as symbols of national sovereignty in the face of a potentially messy reality in which maintaining them may no longer be possible.Katharina Obermeier, Indian Council on Global Relations, 1 October 2015
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BRINGING BACK BORDERS

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