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The end of Schengen... the end of the EU?

(43 Posts)
ProfessorPreciseaBug Sat 23-Jan-16 08:37:17

If Germany is about to set up boarder controls between themselves and Austria, will it spell the begining of the end of the EU superstate?

It will certainly piss of a hell of a lot of Germans by making their drive to the skiiing in Austria a hell of a lot slower and irritating!

redhat Sat 23-Jan-16 08:39:37

Im not sure the ski drive is going to be the main issue for most of the Germans hmm

Lweji Sat 23-Jan-16 08:45:20

Border controls exist withing the EU. Not every EU country is Schengen and other non- EU countries are.
The EU lived quite happily for years with border controls. And most EU countries already have ID cards so it's just a matter of showing them.
No point in doom mongering. Unless you are eagerly waiting for the EU to end?

ProfessorPreciseaBug Sat 23-Jan-16 08:51:22

I am not wanting the EU to collaps in a heap. Indeed that would be very bad news. Not leadt because it would probably herald economic then civil unrest... and possibly war. However reversing Schengen by one of the founding countries will have a profound effect on the mindest of the Europhiles.

Perhaps it is the clarion call to wake up and smell the coffee. Perhaps, just perhaps this could force a reform of the EU in a much stronger way than Call me Dave will ever manage? Who knows.

Lweji Sat 23-Jan-16 08:54:34

Profound effect in the minds of the europhiles?
I'd doubt even the end of the EU would bring war.
Molehill into mountain, in my opinion.

ThenLaterWhenItGotDark Sat 23-Jan-16 08:55:09

You still have to show a national id document to pass from the Schengen country where I live to the Schengen country next door, so I can't see it being much a of an upheaval tbh.

The UK isn't Schengen is it? So it won't really affect Call Me Dave AFAIK?

ProfessorPreciseaBug Sat 23-Jan-16 09:06:00

In the minds of the Europhiles, the dream is a European state much like America. going back to internal border controls is a massive obstacle to that dream. So whilst Dave is demanding reforms from outside Schengen, it may be that having to introduce something that sands in the way of the dream will really put the pressure on to change from within.

As to the molehill and mountain, the breakup of Europe would be the best way to start a war. Old enmities going back to Verdun and before bought to the surface. Look at how easily other places slip into shooting. We have a strong culture and identity, but I am not sure it could avoid tit for tat recriminations. Heaven forbid.

Lweji Sat 23-Jan-16 09:27:45

How do you know what is going on in Europhiles' minds if you're not one? smile

The molehill was border controls, mainly. But Europe was ok for decades with a small European Economic Union. Expecting it to descend into war is indeed a mountain.

Kennington Sat 23-Jan-16 09:29:43

Well the UK isn't a schengen and we are in the EU. It will be a short term pain I guess but this is how it was before anyway.
Since the Paris massacres I thought France had reintroduced boarder checks - is this still the case?
I thought the main aim of the EU was to stop European wars and to improve things for the poorer countries.

Rosa Sat 23-Jan-16 09:32:10

I am all for stonger border controls . Yep when I am in the mountains I pop into Austria to get my petrol and regularly do a bike trail taking me from one country to another - But I reckon it is is pretty low priority on the MPs lists - my petrol and bike riding ! I think they might be thinking more along lines of National security or European/ International security .. but of course I could be wrong .

OhYouBadBadKitten Sat 23-Jan-16 09:34:51

Im not normally pedantic, but it is 'border' as in the edges of a country.

meditrina Sat 23-Jan-16 09:34:52

The EU has existed without Schengen for longer than it has with some members in it.

So no of course it's not the end of the EU.

Indeed might be the saving of it, as it shows that reform of some specific issues is possible.

OTheHugeManatee Sat 23-Jan-16 09:42:29

The EU was not responsible for the long European peace - we have NATO to thank for that - so I doubt the end of the EU would trigger war. The EU is currently a cause of far more bitterness than it is a cure: the Greeks hate the Germans for enforced austerity, the Germans hate the Greeks for letting the boats land, splits are opening between East and West on how to handle refugees and the eurozone is creating 40% youth unemployment in the southern states. And everywhere nationalist parties are popping up to resist it, with growing popular support.

The bureaucrats will carry on regardless, but at the level of normal people the EU is heading for disaster and a total failure of popular consent. At this rate it will end up creating the very conflicts it was set up to prevent.

ThenLaterWhenItGotDark Sat 23-Jan-16 09:43:47

I really can't see Angela marching on Paris anytime soon.

You're just not getting the Chicken Licken reaction you wanted here OP.

Nobody is going to panic.

Lweji Sat 23-Jan-16 09:45:43

And everywhere nationalist parties are popping up

Now, that is the worry. But do far none of them seems to speak of regaining former territories.

ProfessorPreciseaBug Sat 23-Jan-16 10:25:54

What chickin lickin reaction am I wanting?
I am asking a question, will the re-establishing of internal borders spell the end of the idea of a European super state, or will it force the EU to confront the basic issues it has so far fudged? Or will it have no effect at all?

TheNewStatesman Sat 23-Jan-16 10:28:59


Democracies don't go to war with each other. With or without the EU or the SZ. Switzerland and Norway are not in the EU, and they are no more likely to go to war than anyone else.

Kennington Sat 23-Jan-16 10:37:03

I was thinking of Yugoslavia in terms of wars
But you are right I cannot think otherwise who would be going to wat with who at the current time!

Lweji Sat 23-Jan-16 10:49:40

Of course it will have an effect. Perhaps even stop whatever progression into a superstate, if that was seriously in the cards.
But there's no reason it should lead to mayhem.

juneau Sat 23-Jan-16 11:07:52

The collapse of Schengen doesn't necessarily lead to the collapse of the EU, IMO. Yes, the freedom of movement within Schengen is a founding principle of the EU, but not all EU countries are in Schengen and the existence of Schengen relies on those within the zone holding documentation (whether shown at the border or not), that gives them the right to move freely within that zone. When over a million people have breached the Schengen border and start moving freely within it, its already collapsed! Suspending Schengen now is like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, but I suppose it gives countries the right to stop and control their borders going forward.

As for there already being border controls between some counties - yes there are - but others, such as France/Belgium, are wide open and that's how the Paris bomber and his accomplices managed to move between those two countries following the terror attacks in Nov. We are in a different world now that the one we were when Schengen was set up. Suspending it is a necessary move to reflect that new reality. How the EU nations deal with this new reality and whether they can reach consensus will determine whether the EU can survive this crisis.

ProfessorPreciseaBug Sun 24-Jan-16 09:46:49



Democracies don't go to war with each other. With or without the EU or the SZ. Switzerland and Norway are not in the EU, and they are no more likely to go to war than anyone else."....

How fast can one forget? Chamberlain was a democratically elected Prime Minister and Hitler was a democratically Chancellor. Whilst much has changed since 1939, national pride and identity have not gone. (well possibky with the exception of England).

RancidOldHag Sun 24-Jan-16 09:58:49

"freedom of movement within Schengen is a founding principle of the EU"

Not sure I agree with that. EEC was created in 1957, and had grown to become the EU by the 1970s (not sure exactly when name changed, we still called it EEC at the time of the referendum in 1973 but that had given way to EU by the 1980s).

It arose in the 1950s, btw, as a deterimined and deliberate attempt to build peaceful post-war relationships between recent adversary European nations. On the general idea that that was a Good Thing in itself, and also more pragmatically that you don't go to war with your closely connected partners. Those partnerships needed to be started from scratch, and in the face of considerable opposing sentiment. That it seems almost unimaginable now, (and you simply no longer hear people who say they won't buy German on principle) shows how far it's come.

Freedom of movement was in it all along. But that's not a synonym for open borders.

The open borders of the Schengen Agreement were not signed up to until 1985 and implementation began in 1995. And not every country already in EU joined that agreement anyhow (though countries who joined since have had to).

ArmchairTraveller Sun 24-Jan-16 10:02:49

I interrailed in the early 80s. I showed my passport at borders, my German friends just flashed an ID card to go to and from Austria. Fast and simple. And pre internet/mobile computers, the border police still knew exactly when my friend had last crossed the border and how long he'd been out of the country and where he'd been headed.

Lweji Sun 24-Jan-16 12:11:30

To be clear, EU citizens have freedom of movement. They don't require visas or residency permits, have pretty much the same rights as residents as nationals.
But Schengen is about not having border controls.

ProfessorPreciseaBug Sat 30-Jan-16 08:32:16

From the Beeb..

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said: "If the Schengen system [of border free travel] is destroyed, Europe will be seriously endangered"

I do wonder how serious it is?

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