by N. Peter Kramer
French President Macron wants to reintroduce border controls between EU countries and to guard the external border of the Union with an EU police force. He said this on a visit to the French-Spanish border after three Islamic assassinations in his country. It looks like Macron is finally facing the reality that a borderless EU is unsustainable.
Schengen. The name of the Luxembourg town has become an icon for EU integration. It was here that in 1985, as a stunt to attract more citizens to the polls for European Parliament elections, border controls between France, Germany and the three Benelux countries (Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxemburg) were lifted. The euphoria about the fall of the Wall between West- and East Germany caused the ideal of a borderless Europe. Border controls were abandoned. And the Schengen area grew and grew; especially with the EU enlargement to the east. Citizens of EU countries should be able to settle anywhere in the EU. The consequences are known. Within the EU there has since been a migration of people from southern and eastern Europe northwest. In the meantime the external border countries of ‘Schengen’ turned out not to be enough equipped neither motivated to carrying out their task to control these borders.
The EU’s open internal and external borders have proved to be a gift to drug traffickers, people smugglers and other criminals. The Muslim Tunisian who murdered three people in a church on Nice, France at the end of October, also knew what to do. He came to France illegally via the Italian island Lampedusa and the Italian mainland. Unhindered at the external border and not stopped by border controls between EU countries.
In his own country, the French President has been called to act quickly now. The result of a recent opinion poll shows that more French citizens have confidence in Marine Le Pen than in Emmanuel Macron to solve the problem.