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JEF France and JEF Germany urge their governments not to re-nationalise borders

, by JEF Deutschland, JEF Secretariat, Le Bureau national des Jeunes Européens-France

All the versions of this article: [Deutsch] [English] [français]

The Jeunes Européens France and the Junge Europäische Föderalisten Deutschland (JEF) strongly condemn any attempt to re-nationalise border controls within the Schengen Area. On April 20, 2012, a letter of the French and German interior ministers Guéant and Friedrich was revealed which pressures the Danish EU presidency to reform the Schengen Agreement. The new rules would allow EU Member States to re-introduce border controls for 30 days in case another Member State is not able to ensure secure borders – and that without accord of the European Commission or other Member States.

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“The proposal is nothing more than cheap populism and only serves resentments”, commented JEF Germany president Lars Becker. He added: “This is an attack on the freedom of movement and the EU civil liberties.” His French colleague, Aurélien Caron, agreed and further remarked: “Borders are nowadays a European – and not a national matter. We call on the governments not to abuse this topic for national elections.”

Both presidents believe that instead of re-nationalising inner EU-borders the governments should better Europeanise the EU’s external borders. “We acknowledge that open borders may also pose some challenges to security. However, these must be met jointly. It is incomprehensible why our interior ministers opt for national solutions when in fact this is a European issue par excellence”, said Caron. Becker suggested to help those states unable to guard their borders. “Instead of closing off the own borders Germany and France should better support those struggling states, for example Spain and Greece. It cannot be that countries with no external borders, like Germany, hide behind the overburdened southern and eastern Member States.”

However, Caron and Becker also stressed that the EU should not turn into a fortress and that all immigrants must be treated with respect by border guards and according to their human rights.

JEF France and JEF Germany have been fighting for the free movement of Europeans ever since their founding. In 1950 JEF members chopped and burned boundary-posts at the Franco-German border and in 2011 they demonstrated against plans of the then Danish government to re-introduce border controls. “Borders represent nationalism, hatred and war. JEF will always fight against any attempt to re-introduce them on European soil”, Caron and Becker closed their statement.

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  • On 26 April 2012 at 17:24, by I want out Replying to: JEF France and JEF Germany urge their governments not to re-nationalise borders

    Ironic in the extreme that the passport illustrated in the picture that accompanies this article is that of the UK which is not part of the Schengen Agreement and has retained its border controls.

    It is also amusing that German and France are pressuring Denmark re amending the Schengen Agreement given that Denmark took steps of it’s own to improve border security in 2011 involving the deployment of national border staff and stopping of travellers.

    The point regarding countries with no exterior EU border hiding “behind the overburdened southern and eastern Member States” is well made. However most of the immigrants transiting these exterior borders do not want to settle in the first country they encounter, they want to travel onwards to other countries for economic and / or cultural reasons. Therefore the countries in charge of the borders do not have the same degree of concern or motivation as Germany, France, Denmark etc. in tackling immigration. If the countries that are the ultimate destinations (and more importantly their people) are not absolutely convinced of the security of the external EU borders then do not be surprised if increasingly the pressure is to resurrect national frontiers.

    The alternative ? How about a border force created from personnel from all the Schengen Agreement countries and administered independently by the EU, that is, all Schengen countries lose any sovereign control of their national frontiers. (Clearly Iceland would be in a problematic position.) How popular would that be I wonder ?

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