Europe's Immigration Crisis
Western Europe to Migrants: Keep Out

As Europe struggles to deal with its immigration crisis, a majority of citizens in France, Germany, Italy, and Britain favor the cessation of the Schengen Agreement, which allows for free movement across borders of the 22 member-states of the European Union plus Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein. From The Telegraph:

The IFOP poll, conducted in several European countries and published in the newspaper Le Figaro, shows 67 per cent of the French would like to reinstate border controls. […]

“Schengen must be suspended immediately and replaced by a Schengen II which member-countries could only join if they first agree to the same immigration policy,” [Former French Prime Minster] Mr [Nicolas] Sarkozy said recently. “Europe is not meant to organise social and migratory dumping.”

The inflow of refugees from war-torn and politically unstable countries across the Middle East and Africa threatens to imperil what is a pillar of the European Union’s social and economic structure. The dissolution of the Schengen would be highly disruptive for local economies in border towns, such as those along the Rhine, which often have large percentages of their working populations living in neighboring countries a short drive away. About 45 percent of the working population of Luxembourg, for example, travels across national borders on their daily commutes.

Insofar as it makes it easier for refugees, once in Europe, to choose and enter countries with (relatively) little hindrance, it is unsurprising to see this frustration with the Schengen in Western Europe. Yet, while there’s no easy answer as to how the EU should address the unprecedented surge of asylum-seeking migrants, ending its open border policy is a bad one.

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