We are witnessing the beginning of a domino effect. Sweden has introduced, after more than 50 years, controls on the travellers from Denmark, even on the tens of thousands of Danish commuters. And Copenhagen, in its turn, has temporarily closed the border with Germany. Six European countries of the Schengen area have reintroduced border controls, in “temporary” derogation to the free circulation of people as a result of the exceptional flow of refugees.
But we certainly cannot define this decision as surprising. Not only because Sweden announced it long ago, but also because already after November attacks in Paris, the member countries of the European Union have decided to “immediately” strengthen controls on all the travelers at the Schengen borders. The interior ministers of the EU countries endorsed France’s request for a fundamental revision of the Treaty, so as to allow to ””systematically” control citizens at the EU borders. Besides Sweden and Denmark, a similar decision was taken by Norway (which is not part of the Union but is a member of the Schengen area), Austria, Germany and France.
Even before May 29, the European Parliament and the Council have reached an agreement on the new legislative package on the Schengen. The management of the area of free movement got the green light after a block which lasted a year and a half, due to disagreements between the two institutions: the member states were authorized to reintroduce border controls for a maximum period of two years if they feel threatened by a massive tidal wave of immigration.
But even prior to this period, Europe had been targeted by the Member States themselves, as when some of them decided unilaterally to suspend the agreement. For example France and Italy in the spring of 2011, citing the pressure of several thousand North African immigrants. Or Denmark, the same year, for electoral reasons.
In short, the Schengen Agreement is full of cracks, but this happens basically because every country continues its own economic line, there is no mutual help, there are no boundaries to defend together, there is no common politics. We have made Europe, but there is still a long way to go to make Europeans.