Summer was still swinging when fugitives flocked to the Turkish beaches to board rickety boats to Greece, an outer frontier of a unified Europe, a guarded gate at the entrance of a borderless expanse inside.
Mutti Merckel, assumedly in a late burst of motherly cravings, thought it was necessary, and wise, to tell the world that the gates to Germany and the arms of the Germans would be opened wide, to welcome and embrace all these desperate, war-weary people. Whether this was necessary is open for debate – as all the talk of indiscriminate immigration always will be. Whether it was wise is a shut case: it was plain stupid.
Madame Merckel has done a great job in Germany as chancellor, she has done it with angelical zeal, prudent stewardship and sharp thinking. Thousands bobbing across the narrow Aegean, and subsequently snaking through the Balkan landscapes drove her to lose her cool and wisdom: in one emotional statement she abandoned the principles of the Schengen concept and accelerated a steaming stream of fugitives, fortune seekers and, no doubt, criminals of sorts: a stampeding crusade that forged a pedestrian highway to Bavaria. The rest is history – with much misery still waiting in the shadows.
While one might excuse, or forgive, Merckel for showing her “mother’s heart”, her decision to throw the Schengen framework out of the window is, inexcusable. That she, and our mindlessly liberal international media, consequently attacked Hungary and others for protecting or closing their borders, added insult to injury and sent the entire European Project into a debilitating fit.
Why? Simply because a basic principle of the Schengen accords is that entry of visitors into Schengen Europe is checked and registered at the outer borders. Until she caused the flood in Greece, this procedure had been followed for years in Italy and Spain, notwithstanding these countries’ financial and economic difficulties. Exactly because, and only because these outer borders have barriers and gates and red lights and guards, we were in a position to dismantle the controls at the internal borders. Declaring from her pedestal, as Chancellor of Germany – assumedly the most powerful head of state in Europe, that hundreds of thousands can simply walk unimpeded to the Bavarian non-border guards, must be considered, certainly within a political and legalistic context, as a blasphemous and utterly irresponsible statement.
The broader consequences of this tragic error – European unity, social fabrics, economical effects, war and peace - will become clear, and largely troublesome, with time, after the human stream in the Balkans has dried up. An immediate and at first glance surprising effect of the crumbling of the outer frontiers of Europe has become evident over the past months. Indeed, many Belgian cities have now placed advanced cameras on all approach roads into the city, all geared towards early identification and recognition of malignant intruders: intelligent detection that can trace and track movement.
All of sudden we need to protect our cities and villages, simply because we don’t check borders: on a sunny afternoon in 2015 Merckel put us all back into the Middle Ages, or so it seems. It is an eerie feeling for law-abiding citizens in a free and democratic society to see all coming and going watched, and spied on, all the time as one drives on country roads. It adds an Orwellian twist to this need for “protection” for, no doubt, the information thus gathered can easily and quickly be (ab)used by the powers-that-be to control and suppress the citizenry.
If the Schengen community lets go of its outer border checkpoints, and migrants march wherever they want, every village will want to, and will have to, deploy their own “border patrols”. That is not very efficient, nor will it prove to be effective. To avoid this nonsense the existing law must be applied and checks at the outer borders must be re-instated! Rather than being uncritically celebrated for heartfelt compassion, Angela Merckel should be prodded to climb onto her pulpit to apologize for her misguided messianism and reconfirm her commitment to European accords.
November 8, 2015