The Corner

National Security & Defense

Games with Borders

Take the time to think about this for a moment.

EUObserver (my emphasis added):

Dissenting EU states may end up in court or face as-of-yet undefined sanctions if they refuse to let the European Commission dispatch guards to their national borders. The threat is part of a bill on a European border and coast guard system unveiled on Tuesday (15 December) by the Brussels-executive, which says EU guards can be deployed on the bloc’s external frontiers without the consent of the host state if need be.

There is, in fact, a respectable logic to this. The EU’s Schengen Agreement (essentially) creates a ‘borderless’ zone incorporating those EU countries (just about all of them) that have signed up for it. If there’s a weak link in a part of ‘Schengen’s’ external frontier, the Greek border say, that weak link becomes not just a pathway into Greece, but into all of Schengen. The other Schengen states thus have a legitimate interest in ensuring that that their shared external border is secure.

Here’s how the proposed scheme would work:

The new system would replace the smaller EU border agency, Frontex, with a so-called European Border and Coast Guard Agency. The new agency would have a reserve pool of 1,500 border guards, which can be dispatched in a matter of days to an external border to prevent a crisis from escalating….[EU] Commission officials say the hosting member state would take the operational lead, but outstanding issues remain should the EU state flat out refuse. The secondary legislation requires a positive opinion, based on a qualified majority, from a committee composed of experts from the 28 EU states.

“If there is no qualified majority then the commission cannot implement the decision,” noted an EU official.

The official added that “it is the loyal duty of the member state concerned to implement decisions taken.”

“Loyal duty”. 

EU officials argue that this is necessary to keep Schengen intact, and they are probably right, but, before accepting this proposal, EU countries should ask themselves whether keeping Schengen—yet another of the EU’s dangerous experiments—going is really worth the insult to sovereignty that this idea, even if only theoretically, could mean.

Imagine, say, that Poland, which has an ‘external’ Schengen frontier, is told that it is not doing a good job of defending a stretch of that frontier. Poland disagrees with the EU’s assessment, but the EU stands by it. As a result, some German border guards are deployed to ‘help out’ on Poland’s territory against Poland’s will.

Yes, it is highly unlikely that it would ever come to that, but imagine….

Meanwhile:

A two-year [EU] relocation scheme to dispatch 160,000 arrivals in Greece and Italy to other member states has also stalled. Only 64 asylum seekers have been relocated from Greece and 144 from Italy so far this year.

Okey dokey. 

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