Monday, December 14, 2015

Schengen Dilemna

Over the course of the last several years, the European Union has hobbled from one existential crisis to the next. Following the financial crisis of 2008, the lackluster ability of the supranational organization to respond quickly and in an effective manner like the United States with regards to bailouts only spread the contagion further. After appearing to have crossed that hurdle, the issues with Greece and PIGS countries shot forward, only to be solved after talks came to the point where a possible Grexit (a withdrawal/forced removal of Greece from the EU) were suggested. The latest existential crisis, and what seems to be the most dangerous in nature to the survival of the basic premises of which the European Union was founded is the inability of the Union to effectively monitor and police its borders, highlighted in both the refugee crisis and the abilityof radical Jihadists, who after fighting for the terrorist organization Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, were able to use the porous borders to infiltrate the Union  undetected and execute a series of terrorist attacks.

In response to the member states inability to effectively police the outer borders of the Union, the dominant political countries of Germany and France proposed recently to drasticallyexpand the capabilities of  the bordersecurity organization, Frontex (Frontières extérieures) by giving it the following; allowing Frontex to decide independently if a border is of sufficient risk of not being properly managed, and allowing Frontex the capability to deploy border security teams on its own without a nation state asking for help. This is a direct response to the idea that Greece is using its borders as a political threat in order to gain more in the debt negotiations. The European Union has constantly offered help with the Aegean Sea border; however Greece has declined this often. Following the fact that the terrorists involved in the Paris plot were able to travel through Greece undetected as refugees, the fact that Greece is continuing to decline assistance from the EU is further complicating the situation. With countries inthe European Union closing their borders as a result of “national emergencies”, the idea of a Europe where travel between countries is not limited is quickly disappearing.

The response from the following the hints that Frontex have been anything but unified. Many of the countries that are currently seeing a political backlash against the ruling elite due to their supposed tolerance for massive amounts of immigration have welcomed the move, which is considered to prevent further unregulated amounts of border crossing. Greece and some other countries are appalled at what they see as a further deteroration of theirnational sovereignty. By accepting the bail out conditions over the summer, Greece has already given up many of its abilities to decide its own fiscal policy and now with the threat of Frontex expansion, Greece may risk losing sovereignty in the judicial system. Parties that fear an expansion of the European Union love the prospect of highlighting further over reach by the organization, but it is interesting to note that some of these same political parties are supporting the thought of a stronger Frontex, due to the fact that they also rail against immigration. 

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