Sunday, 22 April 2012

visa visum

The careless rhetoric of political campaigns can certainly re-phrase backwards proposals as something benign. The European Union is a striving towards perfection through integration and cooperation, and while though it may still have hard battles ahead of it (exacerbated by the economic climate and political scapegoating), one should approach the subject of closing boarders with extra caution. To have reinvented an entire continent of some four-hundred million people as an entity with no internal border control is a hallmark of the EU, extended even to more people than use the euro.  Citizens of Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein also enjoy this privilege, though the Irish and the Anglo-Saxons did not fully agree to the terms of the treaty and still exercise elements of border controls with the rest of the EU.

Freedom of movement and the consequent right of abode and right to seek employment is one of the founding principles of the EU, and France and Germany, by proposing to exercise a seemingly innocent closing of their borders for a temporary period (not to exceed thirty days), are pandering to the fear of xenophobes and those who imagine their particular work-ethics to be sacrosanct. Some factions of the governments of France and Germany who would like the option to suspend the Schengen Accords are squarely blaming those outlying members, like Italy, Greece and Spain, for not better policing their external borders. The arrangement states that the first country to receive migrants are responsible for ensuring that the immigration process is carried out or that they leave once over staying their welcome, but these frontier lands are accused of lax controls and of sending on their arrivals to neighbouring states—i.e., France and Germany. I doubt that this characterization is entirely accurate, but given the financial hardships imposed on these same countries, so called austerity-programmes that have decimated funding for such public-sector affairs, I would not be entirely surprised if this situation was developing. Maybe there does need to be reforms and the terms of the treaty does allow for member states to protect their interests, but it does seem rather disingenuous and to confirm some of the criticisms of the skeptics who argued that the Schengen Zone is somewhat a one-way street, facilitating vacations for holiday-makers but less open and forthcoming for local-colour infringing on home-territory.