WASHINGTON – The Schengen Treaty, which is one of the basic tenets of the European Union and allows people to move freely among member countries, is increasingly being threatened as the economic situation throughout Europe becomes progressively serious, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
What the treaty did was eliminate border controls among the E.U.
members. It has become what has been described as one of the most
visible symbols of that union. Nations throughout Central Europe to West
European have done away with their internal border controls.
Twenty-six countries belong to the Schengen Treaty, which includes
all of the E.U. countries except the United Kingdom and Ireland. Other
non-E.U. countries which are signatories to the Schengen Treaty are
Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
For Europe, the Schengen Treaty has not only been a symbol of unity but also success of the E.U. – until now.
With the influx of people from non-E.U. countries, mainly refugees
fleeing Greece and Italy as well as those escaping the civil war in
Libya last year, there was created a heavy economic drain on the
economies of the E.U. countries, especially those which themselves where
experiencing hard times.
The latest economic downturn in Europe’s economic health underscored
the additional problem when members created the E.U., they ceded
sovereignty to supranational institutions, especially on the issue of
This development prompted some members to consider giving the
European Commission the power to decide when to allow a country to
increase its border controls.
Last April, this consideration prompted France and Germany to
complain to the president of the European Union – Denmark at the time.
Denmark was one of those countries considering reimposing border
controls after having done away with them many years ago.
The Schengen Treaty, however, does allow a country to reimpose border
controls without E.U. authorization under extreme conditions and only
for a short time.
Consideration of reimposing border controls, even for a short period,
came amid the worst economic crisis Europe had experienced in decades.
Those countries considering such action wanted to do it to protect
their own labor markets which were being flooded with workers either as a
result of the influx of new refugees or high unemployment in other E.U.
Those countries which were feeling the employment pinch as a result
of Europe’s economic downturn were Spain, Ireland and Portugal. In
addition, Greece had become the main avenue for illegal immigrants from
the Balkans and Turkey, as was Italy due to the influx of refugees
escaping the civil war in Libya.
Because these countries already had serious unemployment, their
residents legally could go into the other E.U. countries looking for
jobs, placing greater pressure on those other countries for limited
Regional sources say that modification of the Schengen Treaty is only
talk for now and that discussion on the issue is for domestic political
consumption in countries experiencing continuing labor problems from
the influx of illegal immigrants or the unemployed from other E.U.,
However, this could change to possible action if Europe’s economic
crisis deepens. Indeed, there is such a prospect, not only because of
continuing economic difficulties Europe is experiencing but also from
the effects of the United States going over its own “fiscal cliff” come
the beginning of the new year.