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:
Denmark is to reintroduce controls at its EU borders with Germany and Sweden in an attempt to curb crime and illegal immigration, ahead of today’s [Thu] meeting in Brussels that will discuss the visa-free Schengen zone…
Passport-free travel across the ‘Schengen’ area, which does not include Britain or Ireland, has come under unprecedented pressure after Italy gave residence permits to more than 25,000 Arabs last month, allowing them unfettered access to the rest of the EU.
The European Commission was last week forced to propose the reintroduction of temporary passport controls as “under very exception circumstances” after a conflict between France and Italy threatened to destroy the border-free zone.
France, the most likely destination of the mainly French-speaking Tunisian immigrants, prompted the row by temporarily closing a key railway frontier with Italy and introduced tough extra checks of immigrants’ papers.
For years I’ve been saying about Eutopia that “united they’ll fall, but divided a handful might stand a chance.” In the wake of Mediterranean insolvency and mass refugees from the flowering of Arab “democracy,” Continental governments seem to be very belatedly tiptoeing toward the same conclusion. (I wrote more about the long-term picture for Europe’s “border” here.)