With nine new countries joining Europe’s so-called “free movement zone" one
cannot forget the serious threat to national security posed by open
As I wrote in the Financial Times shortly after the 2005 terrorist
attacks in London, the Schengen Agreement was conceived with the best
possible intentions in 1985, but the omnipresent threat of
islamofasicts attacking European cities cannot be ignored by security
While it may have originally stood for the utopian vision of European
Union integration with the slow deterioration of national borders, it
now allows the very worst of society – terrorists, smugglers and others
– to travel across the continent from Estonia in the north to Portugal
in the south and east to Hungary without hindrance.
In its coverage of Schengen expansion, the French AFP news agency said the enlarged zone will “bring an end to long queues.”
The idea national security should be abandoned in favor of a hassle-free experience for Finnish university students taking the party boat to Estonia or making it easy for Germans to cross into Poland for a weekend trip is absurd. While some will tout the “huge police database” as an able replacement for border controls, the Schengen Information System is flawed.
On a trip a couple years ago, I arrived in Amsterdam from the United States. The border control agent never bothered to question me, my passport was quickly stamped and I proceeded to catch my connecting flight to Brussels. After arriving, I claimed my baggage and was welcomed by a friend, and later that evening, we both drove to the Netherlands – returning to a Brussels suburb just four hours later. Forty-eight hours later, I was boarding a flight to Copenhagen and encountered no passenger checking because Denmark was also part of the free movement zone. I was back in Belgium the next morning, and went on to return to the United States later in the week.
I never experienced any questioning despite several border crossings in a short period, which would – logically – raise a flag or two for the simple fact that I wasn’t European. If the authorities knew I was in their country, which is doubtful, they certainly wouldn’t know the reason nor would they know if my intentions were lawful.
Europeans need to understand not only the threat posed by the islamofasicts, but also the large amount of criminal activity and illegal immigration that is aided by the free movement zone. Let’s hope leaders in the national capitals will fix the mess the Schengen Agreement has caused before it’s too late.