In my opinion the kerfuffle started back in 2008 and 2009 when a select few European countries were willing to take in released Guantanamo Bay detainees and others refused. The open border policy between most of Europe is now causing more heartburn, with some countries planning to take a much closer look at people crossing borders.
The original Schengen agreement between 22 European Union states specifically allowed “anyone to cross international borders without undergoing checks.” Of course, you needed to go through the normal border checks when first arriving within the EU, but once in, you were in. That agreement is not sitting so well with some countries since the world political and economic picture has changed.
First up is Denmark, who will be re-instituting border checks within weeks. They are getting fed up with crime and – get this – illegal immigration. So much for “without undergoing checks.”
Denmark is to reintroduce controls at its EU borders with Germany and Sweden in an attempt to curb crime and illegal immigration, ahead of today’s [Thu] meeting in Brussels that will discuss the visa-free Schengen zone. …
Because Denmark is a member of Europe’s visa-free Schengen area, it cannot reinstate full frontier controls, and will still follow European Union rules with its current plan to station customs officers permanently at borders to conduct random checks on vehicles.
“Everything will take place within the limits of Schengen,” the minister [Claus Hjort Frederiksen, the finance minister] said.
“Over the past few years we have seen an increase in trans-border crime, and this is designed to curb the problem. We will be building new facilities at the Danish-German border, with new electronic equipment and number-plate identifiers,” he said.
Illegal immigration? If “travelers” legally enter Germany or Sweden, how can Denmark claim an illegal immigration problem? Maybe they are claiming the “travelers” are entering Germany or Sweden illegally and those countries are not dealing with the problem?
Denmark certainly seems uncomfortable with the original Schengen agreement, and a war-of-words has been brewing farther south between Italy and Spain in reference to immigrants from riot and war-torn Tunisia and Libya. Mark Styen over at The Corner highlights the problem as written in the Telegraph article.
Passport-free travel across the ‘Schengen’ area, which does not include Britain or Ireland, has come under unprecedented pressure after Italy gave residence permits to more than 25,000 Arabs last month, allowing them unfettered access to the rest of the EU.
And that’s the kerfuffle. Some of the 22 EU countries are not at all too happy about other EU countries opening their own border which directly effects other members.
The fate of thousands of stranded Tunisian migrants bearing temporary residence permits remained unclear on Tuesday as activists vowed to challenge the French authorities’ refusal to let them cross the border from Italy. Their campaign came amid an increasingly bitter diplomatic spat that deepened when France temporarily suspended a rail link to prevent a train carrying Tunisians and pro-migrant protesters from entering French territory.
Several migration experts contacted by France24.com said that the Italian-delivered permits would not be sufficient to reach France, where many Tunisian migrants have family or friends. But they warned that the move’s legality was “confusing”, forcing Paris to tread a fine line between intensifying border checks and respecting the European principle of free movement enshrined in the Schengen treaty.
Of course, the article mentions ethnic profiling, with activists vowing to sue for discrimination.
I’m also curious about how Greece’s economic crisis is playing throughout the European Union. With EU agreements in place, the economic troubles in Greece – which had a national debt of more than $400 billion 12 months ago (113 percent of GDP) – were soon to spill over to the entire EU.
Greece’s debt problem has caused the value of the euro to plunge this week.
Fx trading professionals have suggested that the currency dropped to a six-week low against the yen today (May 10th 2011) in part due to the European Union’s (EU) inability to handle the deficit issues of Greece, as well as the decline in oil prices.
The euro dropped to its lowest level since March 28th, coming in at Y114.77 against the yen and $1.4272 against the US dollar.