Thursday, 17 September 2015

End of a border free Europe?

Fin de Schengen? Estados miembros reanudan los controles fronterizos RT Noticias Espanol

Since the Schengen Agreement came into affect in the 1985, Europe or the EU member states have been recognized worldwide for its hassle free travel across most of Europe. It was the dream of many architects of the European Economic Community, the precursor of the EU, to not only create an integrated common market across Europe but also make the freedom of movement a right of passage perhaps in response to the hated Cold War border guards along the Iron Curtain.  Millions of tourists have enjoyed the borderless travel around Europe for years.

Many more economic unions in Africa ie ECOWAS or COdesa and Latin America with its Mercosur or ALBA have looked at the Schengen Agreement as a jumping off point for a possible visa free, people and transport movements with minimum border bureaucracy. The flow of trade and goods without border checks breathing down their necks has been a dream for many regions. Yet delays remain as debates, hesitations and lack of full regional agreement continue to stall any freedom of movement policy in Africa or Latin America. Both regions are currently in the process of integrating their multiple regional economies into economic unions that are independent and do not rely on foreign aid or the tutelage of Western government and financial institutions. The multinational corporations are not happy about the self sufficient and economic independence part. China and Russia have been pushing a Silk Road inspired economic union in Central Asia with both countries playing an influential and regional role in their backyards. The United States and Europe are slightly annoyed by the success of joint Russian-China economic union partnerships and both countries popularity in Central Asia and the Middle East. If all goes well, perhaps Central Asia will see a border free in terms of economic trade and transportation.

Closed borders and journeying through the old Yugoslavia minus Bosnia

For all the preaching about freedom of movement, hassle free economic trade, Hungary, Denmark, France, Germany and Netherlands have begun to put their border checks back in place. The Hungarian PM Viktor Obran was not exaggerating when he said that any migrant or refugee no matter if its a family or an individual person would face the immediate effects of the law. They will be turned back at the now fortified, barbwire fence at the unofficial border crossings that the migrants have been using. Any migrant who does manage to get through the border fence and the Hungarian police barricade will face 3 years of imprisonment possibly without trial. Migrants have begun clashing with Hungarian border police at the Hungarian-Serbian border as of today. Serbian police have also been sent to control the situation and perhaps calm their neighbors. The Hungarian government today announced that the border with Serbia will be closed for the next 30 days or for one month. The PM Obran and his government insist that it is for national security and earlier even tried to equate the border closure with protecting Hungary's Christian identity. Now some 6000 Syrian migrants and other nationals from families to elderly are rerouting their continous travel to Croatia an EU member. The Croatian government will allow the migrants to travel through the country. Serbia is not an EU member but the country has been talks for a decade to join the EU. Croatia borders  Slovenia and Bosnia.

Bosnia surprisingly has been mute on the migrant crisis. Bosnia is still recovering from its own brutal civil war 2 decades ago. Its the only country in the world to have three current presidents ruling the country which doesn't help to address the issue of identity crisis and reconciliation between the three ethnic groups who were once neighbors, coexisted and intermarried one another. Thirty years ago it would've been impossible to imagine the choas that would grow in Bosnia in the early 1990s. While Serbia fully understands and emphasizes with migrants from Syria, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Pakistan, know that the refugees aren't planning to stay and allowed them to pass through the country towards Hungary, Bosnia hasn't comment on the crisis happening right around the corner and next door. An upcoming West Balkan Summit will be overshadowed by the migrant crisis.

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