The European Council met yesterday to discuss the future of the Schengen Agreement - which allows free travel between 25 European countries - in the light of revolutions in north Africa. The Council refers to events in "Southern Mediterranean" or even "Southern Neighbourhood Region" – an area you might know as north Africa. It …
What is the big deal
... about flashing / not a passport / id card on a border crossing for most of us. Not requiring visas and/or work permits for citizens of other member countries is what counts.
Done properly it's no more hassle than a toll booth and many member countries make it mandatory to carry an ID card anyhow. Heck, even when it's not mandatory in either the country you're going from or the country you're going to you may still want to carry ID even if it's just a drivers license to prove to traffic police you can drive, or a passport to use when flying at your destination or when leaving Schengen.
If you travel a lot it is a big deal to avoid queues at border controls. Imagine that you have to queue up and flash your passport whenever you go to work? Lots of Europeans cross borders when they go to work every day and the abolition of border controls has really increased the development of the border regions.
You don't have to flahs your passport going from Wales to England or from Scotland to England. Why should it be any different when you move around, for example, Italy, France and Germany!?
Before Schengen I used to travel in a night train between Luxembourg, France, Switzerland and Italy. It was sooooo nice to be woken up *twice* for each border crossing (check out of one country and being checked into another one) and having the train standing still.
Believe me, no border control is a Big Deal!
Re: Don't agree
If you are at Paris Gare du Nord for example, how long does it take to go through border control to get on the Eurostar to London compared to just walking onto the platform to get the Thalys to Brussels. Certainly a lot more hassle than putting a ticket through a ticket barrier.
Only for UK!
"Those who would give up Essential Liberty
to purchase a little Temporary Safety,
deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
You knew this was coming, don't you?
Except having to produce ID at a border isn't giving up any liberty -- it's just giving up some convenience. As I posted, in most countries in Schengen it's probably mandatory to carry ID anyhow, and having some on you when abroad could be jolly useful anyhow.
It's not about safety either -- it's about not having to build more and more refugee camps and not having to spend money putting people through the deportation process.
This is the problem
Countries such as Italy, having being one of the first landing points, have given hundreds if not thousands, Italian papers/ travel documents. This means that they are free to travel in the EU. Italy is happy because they'll mostly head north to the more prosperous countries, the UK being one, where benefits are higher than wages in countries like Poland. If they get to the UK they can destroy any ID they have safe in the knowledge that they can't be deported. If these poor unfortunates where really seeking refuge they'd have headed to Niger, Algeria, Egypt , but no, Southern Europe's borders are useless, so they take the opportunity to head north for a better life.
Quite honestly, why don't we just scrap all passports, border controls and the welfare state. I'm sure if they knew what life was really like here, they'd stay at home. It does not help that "our leaders" are hell bent on stirring up the North African countries and Middle East.
What a bloody mess.
Schengen vs laughed at
One of the reasons for the Schengen agreement was that it was slightly bloody ridiculous to have a concrete checkpoint on the autobahn staffed with lots of customs officials and a stripey pole - if you also had 600miles of unmarked border with the country next door.
Although the USA does spend $Bns patrolling it's border with the dreaded threat to the north - so far they arrested a Canadian going for pizza and a couple of kids getting their ball back.
The US spends almost no money on Canadian border security. Sure, they like to inconvenience travelers between the two countries, but there are two thousand miles where there is nary a fence separating the two, and a person can simply walk right through. The border is even larger and more porous if you consider the Alaskan border.
The reason for this is simple: the standard of living in Canada is about equal to that of the United States. There is no great rush of Canadians attempting to flee poverty and oppression by entering into the US, just as there is no rush of Frenchmen flooding into Germany due to porous borders. Mexico, on the other hand, is a problem for the US because of the standard of living discrepancy just as North Africa is a problem for the EU.
Europe will seal its borders, whether external or internal, or its standard of living will sink so low that the osmotic pressure for immigration disappears. I'm fairly sure that you will not be pleased with the latter outcome.
Alex Salmond and the SNP now have a majority in Scotland- expect checks and harrasment of sassenachs on the England/Scotland border sometime soon!!!