It’s the beginning of the New Year, and just days into January the Schengen Zone is under even more strain.
Just after Sweden announced border controls with Denmark on a major bridge and tunnel link, Denmark has announced it too will implement spot checks on its border with Germany. It is all too clear restrictions must be put into place to protect the citizens of the European Union’s Member States. However, those at the top-table in Brussels still refuse to accept this.
Somehow, alarmed by the restrictions aimed at controlling more than a million migrants who have entered Europe since the start of last summer, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s German government has ‘warned’ Europe’s Schengen Zone is “in danger”.
Constantly rising migrant figures have little chance of slowing down anytime soon. It will only be a matter of months until the good weather returns in Europe, and the British Government will be silently dreading the migrant numbers increasing even more.
David Cameron and his government are panicking. They know the migrant issue will be a top priority for men and women on the doorsteps in Britain come the time of the EU Referendum.
It makes absolute sense for us to leave the EU and protect ourselves from such vast numbers of unmonitored people. If we are out of the EU, we would be in complete control over our own immigration system and can vet anyone wanting to come and live in Britain.
In 2015, Angela Merkel celebrated 10 years in power as the Chancellor of Germany. Whilst for many a leader this should have been a time for celebration, for Chancellor Merkel this was far from the case. The powerhouse who once controlled the whole of the Eurozone can now only sit and watch as her leadership disintegrates. Even her own coalition government is turning against her.
The downfall of the Schengen Agreement has begun. This is a fact Mrs. Merkel may just be starting to recognise. However, she must wake up soon if she is to have any chance of salvaging her political career – with the German Federal elections set to take place in 2017.
The Schengen Agreement eliminated all border checks among its members and allowed foreign visitors to travel throughout the area using one visa. With its downfall, border checks are beginning to re-appear in an attempt to ensure the safety of the general public.
Since the escalation of the migrant crisis last year, hundreds of thousands of migrants have made the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean to begin their trail across Europe. With no borders, nothing has been able to stop them. Most want to head to the more Northern nations – chiefly Germany and Sweden – where the infrastructures are close to collapsing.
The EU, the same Union which was founded to prevent conflict amongst its Member States, has seen Hungary sending armoured vehicles to its border with Croatia, Slovenian police sealing several crossings to Croatia, and genuine refugees and migrants alike being pepper-sprayed as they attempt to reach northern Europe. It’s important to remember, many of these people are genuinely in need of help. They do not wish to harm us, but the sheer scale of the problem is difficult to police.
A Europe of open borders and peace? We think not.
Time and time again Mrs. Merkel has paraded as the manipulator of the EU. She constantly refuses to acknowledge any faults with the Schengen Agreement. She has claimed closing the borders would offer a ‘false solution’. However, she now seems to regret her ‘everyone welcome’ open-door policy, inviting all the asylum seekers merrily into Germany – and hence into the rest of Europe – willy nilly.
For Mrs. Merkel this is proving to be an impossible challenge for German’s infrastructure – planning for school places, doctors and nurses for hospitals and creating a housing crisis.
Meanwhile, Britain has perhaps put in place a better way to solve this appalling crisis. We are trying to help migrants in camps surrounding the war-torn nations, making them as comfortable as possible while their status is verified and safe onward transport is arranged. Meanwhile, we are also expected to contribute to the EU’s faltering solution to the crisis.
The first priority of any state is security for its citizens, and to protect its own borders. Before anything else, a government must be able to decide who enters into its territory. It must be able to decide who has access to its police and security databases. This is the only way any government can truly keep its people safe. When this cannot be done – a state has failed!
We now know at least one – possibly two of the terrorists involved in the tragic Paris attacks travelled carefree across Europe via Turkey. They smuggled themselves with genuine refugees onto boats to Greece and were then free to roam across other EU nations in the Schengen Zone to Paris and Brussels – because EU laws allowed them to! Sadly, this also allowed them to commit the atrocious murders. The open border policy means an open border for everyone – those who wish to do us harm, as well as those who do not. These mass murderers are free to carry guns, chemicals and grenades — as well as drugs — with little chance of detection. These terrorists are taking advantage of the chaos of the refugee crisis and while the Schengen Agreement is in place, nothing will stop them.
The state has failed. The EU has failed.
The already declining popularity of the EU is plunging even further, with more people intending to vote to Leave the EU than ever before. Along with this, Mrs. Merkel’s popularity ratings are steadily declining. She does not control a majority government in Germany, and the support for her CDU/CSU coalition government has taken a blow, slipping 5 points to 37 per cent. Mrs. Merkel must now seek to prevent further damage to both herself, her party — and to Europe.
How can she do this? Mrs. Merkel, as well as the rest of Europe, must accept the Schengen Agreement is on its last legs.
Of course, neither the migrant crisis nor the terror attacks in Paris can be blamed solely on the Schengen Agreement, but it is hard to deny it is playing its role.
Britain needs to make a stand now. It is time to accept it is not possible to have porous open borders throughout Europe — our security is at stake.
David Cameron had a fantastic chance to force this idea through as part of his re-negotiation process — but he has failed even to touch on the subject. The only way to stop this madness is to Get Britain Out.
Rob Comley is a researcher for the cross-party grassroots Eurosceptic campaign group Get Britain Out.