5 1 min 10 yrs

Steyn notes;

“As American tourists know, much of Continental Europe has no internal borders. Under the Schengen Treaty, you can land at Rome and wander unhindered all the way to Copenhagen, just as one can from Miami to Boston. That’s because, thanks to the European Union, post-nationalist Continentals were assured by their elites that they were no longer Germans or Spaniards or Belgians but “Europeans.” Then came Greek bailouts, a wobbling Eurozone and the “Arab Spring,” and suddenly national frontiers are re-emerging from the mists of time:

The truth is that there is a VERY good reason for borders and those nations whose political elite have tried to erase them are now rapidly realising the dangers presented by such recklessness. A borderless EU is doomed to suffer whereas Nations that know how to built a moat and throw a few crocodiles in it are much more likely to survive.

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  1. This guy clearly hasn’t a clue what he’s talking about and his shoddy piece is one series of errors from start to finish.

    So many that it’s difficult to know where to begin, or if there’s really any point in beginning. But here goes:

    There are and always have been borders in Europe: Shengen didn’t and wasn’t intended to change that.

    Shengen relates only to border CONTROLS.

    Shengen is also not restricted to the EU. Several non-EU members have signed the treaty and are part of the Shengen area; several EU members did not.

    Nationalism/Internationalism has nothing to do with border controls or passports, as this fool seems to believe. Before World War I, anyone could travel freely across Europe, from France to Russia, without a passport.

    This recent debate in fact, if it leads to anything at all which it probably won’t, is about only Denmark reintroducing customs control (not “borders” and not even passport control) in an attempt to stop smuggling, etc. No police or border guards will be involved.

    And AFAIK Denmark said it is still only a proposal and may not implement it.

    You and Steyn can of course dream on…..

  2. Noel Cunningham –

    Passports were required prior to WW1, but border controls tended to be relaxed.

    As for Schengen, the point is to give effect to one external border and create a single, borderless, internal EEA state for customs purposes. Sure, there are borders on maps, but what’s the point when you can drive from Poland to Portugal to Italy to Calais, as I did, without stopping at a border, without being checked and without seeing a national flag but plenty of EU flags at these “borders”.

  3. >>there are borders on maps, but what’s the point when you can drive from Poland to Portugal to Italy to Calais, as I did, without stopping at a border, without being checked and without seeing a national flag <<

    Are you serious? You – Pete More, of all people – think the whole point of borders is to allow states to stop and check travellers? Or to serve as demarcation flagposts? What a grim view.

    Fortunately those are only secondary, and unnecessary, functions. Borders mark out a country's legal jurisdiction, the operational area of its police and army, its territorial limits and integrity in international law, etc.

    BTW, you are also wrong about passports prior to the First World War. The arrival of trains and their massive use for cross-border travel meant most countries soon dropped passport requirements (one big exception was Johnny Turk). Most travellers in Europe in the Belle Epoch moved about freely without such documents.

  4. Noel Cunningham –

    Yes, of course the prime point of a border is to mark the physical limit of the state’s writ, unless it’s the US Treasury which regards its writ as universal.

    I’m right about passports prior to WW1. They were required by law but customs and border controls were generally relaxed. You said they were not required. This is not true. They were required but whether they were checked is another matter.

    Let’s not get all misty-eyed anyway. There was a time when the traveller would probably have been part of the quality. An English gent or wealthy merchant. Quite rightly his bona-fides were taken as read and, let’s be honest, he’d raise the standard wherever he went on the continent. Of course he went untroubled.

    Today the great unwashed keep on pitching up so the clock cannot be rolled back. It was typical bureaucratic stupidity to believe it could.

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