Saturday, January 23, 2016

Why Europe Must Decentralize

-Ryan McMaken
When Sweden abandoned its open border with the rest of the Schengen Area, and started checking passports, that created a bottleneck in Denmark. Migrants and refugees were traveling through Denmark in large numbers, but when Sweden closed its border, many of those migrants stopped and stayed in Denmark.

Consequently, Denmark has now ended its open border policy as well, and is now turning people away at the Danish-German border. In response, the Swedes, Germans, and Danes have entered into "emergency talks" in Brussels in an attempt to save the open-border zone known as the Schengen Area from becoming a thing of the past.

The Schengen Area first splintered following the terrorist attacks in Paris late last year, and the French border controls remain in place to this day. Nicolas Sarkozy has declared "Schengen is dead."

De Facto Decentralization at Work
The result has been a de facto decentralization of border control in Europe — and thus greater overall decentralization in practice. Predictably, to counter this threat, the EU has attempted to impose more centralized government control on Europe in the form of a centralized bureaucracy and police force that will oversee border control.

This means politicians in Brussels will regulate how the border is administered in faraway Hungary and Poland. Naturally, member states have expressed concerns. "Don't worry," the head of the new border force has assured them. “[local] sovereignty is not at stake.” By which they mean, "local control."

But the attempt to "Euro-ize" the border merely illustrates the fact that the EU project is greatly concerned with further centralizing political power in Europe.