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Schengen calls European Union
by Thanos Kalamidas
2011-04-27 09:20:19
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Last week the French government shyly in the beginning, louder later announced that perhaps it is time to suspend the Schengen Treaty for a bit at least until the necessary changes proceeds. This was the shy part the loud one was that the Schengen Treaty has filed and it should be reviewed all together. What no one said was what they really meant; the European Union has failed in controlling immigration or at least to what they thought acceptable immigration. And unfortunately as we all discover day after day is not the only issue where the Union has failed.

The Schengen Treaty covers 25 European countries with 22 of them members of the European Union and it guards free passage among the member states without need of visa or even passport and that as long the passenger has entered legally from one of the Schengen boarders. But that’s the peak; there are other aspects of the Treaty that make it a short of unity institution. The Treaty expands in full cooperation between the member states far and beyond the Union’s obligations including policing and personal information. Actually it is exactly this other parts that have kept the United Kingdom out of the Treaty. And perhaps the citizens of the Union are not fully aware of the rest of the package but the rulers of the states are which makes the talk about failure of the treaty more serious.

But returning to the immigrating problem since this was the excuse to start this talk the Schengen Treaty anticipated the possibility of problems giving the right to the member states under certain circumstances to reintroduce boarder control with of course the obvious fear of terrorism but another series of reasoning most of them focusing to national security and national safety. Now and as we have learned the last decade this public and national safety excuse is very flexible and it works accordingly to the wishes of the ones who coordinate it. And the last ten years countries inside the Schengen Treaty – including France – have used this excuse for further boarder checkups. The only thing actually they had to do was to recite the reasons for their decisions and after the necessary brief negotiations with the European leadership everything would have been fine. But going from there to doubt the practical use of the treaty and considering it failure is a long way and it puts under questioning not the treaty only but the whole union.

The European Union and in extent the Schengen Treaty member states have sensitive boarders from two sides since the Atlantic and the North Pole could not really cause a problem. The east side that mainly boarders with Russia and the former soviet states it doesn’t cause much worries, after all most of them would love to become members of both, the Schengen Treaty and the European Union so it is for their own advance to show good behaviour. The south side of the continent is all the problems have piled. Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal have become the breakwaters of waves of immigrants coming either from the Middle East to Afghanistan or Africa and the Mediterranean Sea has become the well of the human trafficking. Dispirit people, whole families who try to escape wars, lethal illnesses and extreme poverty. These boats that arrive in Italy, Spain or Greece don’t carry 70, 100 or 200 illegal immigrants, they carry 70,100 or 200 dispirit souls in search of hope and dignity and the tragic is that among those cold numbers there are kids and people who really need even basic help including basic medical care and food. Apparently all the things the European Union from its foundations is oblige to defend and protect.

These people are victims and preys not the predators and they are used in an inhuman way on their way to hope and a plate of food. Imagine that in the name of hope most of them enslave their future hoping that when the day will come they will be free and at least their kids will have some chance in human dignity. This is the reality of those …illegal immigrants who risk their life in killer boats to cross the Mediterranean. A Greek politician said a few weeks ago that if he was to become the Prime Minister he would order the Greek Navy to bomb and sink those boats at sight. The French government stopped a train with immigrants from Africa because …they were national threat? And all that the very same moment we all in Europe accept the necessity of immigration? Remember a senescence Europe to keep its standards needs the immigration or at least somebody to keep paying the tax so we can have the money to pay the health system we all enjoy, the free education system we are so proud of and most importantly the pensions we guaranteed for the older.

A couple of years ago the former Finnish Prime Minister said that of course Finland wants immigration and immigration would definitely help the Finnish economy they just wanted well educated and experience immigrants who can benefit and benefited in the Finnish society. What he forgot is that what would have been the reason for a well educated and experience person to immigrate to Finland? For the long and cold winters or for the high taxation? Looking for immigrants like that it is just another – in this case stupid – excuse for inability to absorb and use this work force and really benefit from it. Of course there was another side in this axiom that unfortunately we here more and more often lately in Europe regarding to the immigrants that would have been welcome. How we identify this well educated and experience. Would any European country consider well educated anyone with PhD in medicine from the University of Kabul? It sounds like a joke but feel free to replace Kabul with most of the African, Middle East or Asian capitals and you will understand what I mean and then it will be clear what short of immigrants they are dreaming of!

The same time controlling a sea is difficult especially a sea as big the Mediterranean from people who have absolutely nothing to lose and in any case only to earn. So instead of closing the boarders between France and Italy the French government would have done better if they helped the Italian government to control better those boarders. And if the rest of the European state wanted instead of blaming the south states for something they cannot fully control alone help them not only to control the European boarders – because that’s exactly what they do and by that it means that this minuet Italy defence and controls even the Finnish boarders - but also to find ways to absorb in the most beneficial way those immigrants for the common good. Except if the common good is not so important any more and that explains why we stated doubted Schengen Treaty. And remember that the Schengen Treaty is just the hall way for the European Union.

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Emanuel Paparella2011-04-27 14:44:28
Indeed, the malaise goes much deeper than the control of borders. It is hinted at the end of the above article when the “common good” is hinted at. When the common good is replaced with common goods and the economy becomes the only reason for a political union, as democratic as it claims to be, then what will soon appear on the scene is social Darwinism. That suggestion by the cynical Greek politician to bomb boats of refugees could be page right out of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” where rationalizations are given why such bombing is more humane than allowing the down and out to enter Utopia… The downtrodden have no right to human dignity and are a mere burden that is better to dispose of. Having come full circle the Nazi mind-set seems to have raised its ugly head again…The solution has been around for centuries now but none of the myopic politicians of present day EU are paying any attention. It is to be found in the empirical evidence observable in countries that by and large have been generous with their immigration laws, among which the US. Whenever they have freely allowed immigration for everybody, not just scientists and engineers, they have prospered. It is also abundantly spelled out in the social encyclicals of the Popes of the last one hundred years or so. Those encyclicals talk of “distributive justice” and why it is socially desirable and how to achieve it. But distributive justice has become a blasphemous epithet to current secular ears in love with a savage Darwinian kind of capitalism. I’ll reserve the explanation of such a concept for a future article but were I to be asked to condense it in one short sentence I’d use that of Pope Paul VI: “if you want peace, work for justice.”

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