Tag Archive: Schengen Agreement


Recent Finnish Resistance to European Union Actions

A recent Forbes article addresses Finnish resistance to actions taken by the European Union. Specifically, the Finnish government has opposed expansion of the Schengen Area (an agreement that provides for borderless movement between certain Member States) and has been highly conservative in the approach towards the Greek debt crisis.

Finnish European Union representatives opposed the inclusion of Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen Area, because of their belief that there is too much organized crime and corruption within Romania and Bulgaria. These criticisms are more than merely political as the attacks rely on core European Union values as promulgated in the Copenhagen Criteria.

Perhaps most important is Finnish resistance to a plan aimed at rescuing the Greek government from overwhelming debt. The Finnish government is adamant that it receive collateral from the Greek government before it agrees to to any bailout. While Finland reached such an agreement with Greece, other Member States which have adopted the Euro are equally as adamant that any concerns about collateral be decided together.

A recent poll evidences a euroskeptic sentiment as only thirty-seven percent of Finnish nationals expressed satisfaction with the European Union. At the very least, these recent divisions between Finland and other Member States threaten the unity of the European Union–a unity which is critical to its strength and longevity.

Recent Proposal To Strengthen the Schengen Area

The Schengen area, which became effective in 1995, ensures that community citizens are afforded freedom of movement between Member States. The area creates one external border for immigration checks into the area using harmonized rules.  Internal border checks have been abolished in these areas.

Earlier this year, conflict arose when Italy gave travel papers and residence permits to Tunisian migrants. As a result, France placed police on the shared border with Italy and began to perform checks.  This created a debate about freedom of movement, and whether the border checks were in conflict with the goal of the Schengen area.

In response to the controversy, members of the European Commission will discuss a proposal on Friday, September 16, 2011 which will provide authorization for Member States to police borders for five days during emergencies only. It would also provide authorization for the European Commission to remove police borders after emergency action taken by Member States. Advocates of the proposal argue it would protect freedom of movement principles by restricting visceral national reactions and providing for a more measured and collective response.

Original members of the European community France and Germany, along with a newer member, Spain, issued a statement in opposition to the proposal. The concern raised in the  statement focuses on national sovereignty with respect to national security. The statement advocated the position that national security decisions should be localized with the Member States and their governmental processes.




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