The 1995 Schengen Agreement established open borders between 26 of the 28 EU countries. A Schengen visa issued in one nation is valid in all, permitting free movement throughout the area. A single external border alone exists.
Things are changing. Refugee floods caused by US-led imperial wars aren’t wanted. Record numbers risk life and limb to reach European destinations out of desperation – enduring enormous hardships en route, then mistreated like hostile invaders when they arrive.
German willingness to accept huge numbers appears fading. On Sunday, it closed its border with Austria, suspending train traffic, the way most refugees entered the country this summer.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said only EU citizens and others with valid visas are permitted to enter Germany until further notice. Schengen is suspended – dead for all practical purposes as long as US endless wars continue displacing floods of victimized people.
German police are patrolling Austrian border crossings. Der Spiegel said soldiers may guard road and rail borders. Closing Polish and Czech Republic access may follow.
Germany is in Europe’s heartland, sharing borders with nine European countries: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Poland, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
If free movement is halted from all or most of them, Schengen is effectively dead, perhaps never to be revived, at least no time soon.
Merkel wants a refugee quota system established, requiring other EU countries to share the burden based on size and economic ability to handle it. So far, no agreement was reached. Britain’s Cameron categorically rejects it. He’s not alone.
German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said Germany is “reaching the limits of its capabilities.” An EU response is needed. “By the time thousands of people are walking on the Autobahn, it’s too late.”
Other European countries are increasingly unwilling to accept growing numbers of desperate people seeking safe haven. Some openly express or suggest anti-Muslim sentiment. As NATO members, they bear full responsibility for either partnering in US wars or failing to forthrightly condemn them.
As long as they continue, so will endless human floods. The obvious solution not taken is stopping them, devoting military budgets to rebuilding ravaged countries, helping desperate people in war theaters and displaced refugees rebuild their shattered lives.
Instead, countries aim to stop the flood. Hungary blocked its border with Serbia. It introduced legislation making illegal border crossings punishable by imprisonment.
On Sunday, Austria closed its border with Hungary. Chancellor Werner Faymann said “(w)e have always said this is an emergency situation in which we must act quickly and humanely…Now we have to move step-by-step away from emergency measure towards normality, in conformity with law and dignity.”
Slovakia closed its borders with Hungary and Austria. Police were deployed to keep unwanted refugees out. The Netherlands may follow. Spot checks are being conducted along its border with Germany.
As human floods continue, expect to see other European countries blocking or greatly restricting their entry.
It should share the greatest burden – not when enormous resources go for causing it. Perhaps it’ll ally with EU nations planning military action to seize and destroy vessels operating from ravaged Libya – because of US-led NATO aggression.
In June, the European Union Naval Force Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR Med) was launched “to undertake systematic efforts to identify, capture and dispose of vessels and enabling assets used or suspected of being used by migrant smugglers or traffickers.”
Escalating efforts are planned. Declaring war on human traffickers is a pretext for stopping an unwanted human flood.
So far this year, over 400,000 refugees and asylum seekers reached Europe by sea. Numbers leaving war theaters continue growing exponentially – increasingly unwanted when they reach European destinations.
Imperial arrogance is entirely responsible for what’s happening, Washington and rogue partners contemptuous of human life and welfare.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PMCentral time plus two prerecorded archived programs.