Should EU borders be opened?
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One author addressing the problem is Philippe Legrain in a column on the New York Times, provokingly calling for a policy of open borders in Europe, as open borders are revolving doors filling the gaps between countries experiencing a different level of wealth, automatically reducing their consistency when the balance is (partially) restored. Legrain's words resemble the history of Eastern European migrations in Western Europe, with countries as Italy experiencing flows from different countries, which ceased when such countries started enjoying financial growth. This aim is also shared by OpenBorders.info. Can open borders enhance the redistribution of wealth and a more just sharing of resources, expertise and labour?
Philippe Legrain's article: http://www.nytimes.com...
Open Borders: http://openborders.info...
From the criminal point of view, you see how criminal phenomena as the drug trade affect the borders of Europe (as for the passage of opium from Afghanistan to Albania to Italy). The same concerns other routes through which drug, weapons and human being are trafficked. Nevertheless, we don't need to stop people. We need to check their identity, that's a totally different problem. It's not either stop them or let them pass unnoticed: it can also be check them, cross-check their identity with international databases (e.g. Interpol, Europol, etc.), check the goods they have with themselves. A stronger cooperation for what concerns the gathering of data can do the job, as the problem is not them being here or there, the problem is them paying if they commit a crime. The same apply to terrorists, or especially for them, as if you see data from the Global Terrorism Database held by START, the majority of terrorist attacks concern domestic terrorism, not international one. I will say it straight: it may be dangerous. Nevertheless, it may be not, and this is an element quite underrated in security agencies: security must be provided by preventing the under- as well as the over-estimation of threats. The "it may be not" is important, as it concern the fact that only a part of our life is subject to security issues. Otherwise, we fall into considering everybody coming from abroad as an enemy.
So, more sophisticated mechanisms can be guaranteed without an excessive trading of our safety, but what about resources? Is it all about resources? Yes and no, as there are many problems we face which are moral, philosophical, political, but not strictly related with physical resources. This is part of my point in saying that people are not stuck in Greece as there are no resources - locally - to deal with them, but because when the national identity f countries wealthier than Greece started being determined by wealth, they stopped accepting a loss in wealth as an acceptable price, as it would undermine their identity. In short: it is not poorer countries filling with migrants because they lack resources, it's richer countries militarising their borders as they don't want to cede a small part of theirs to those are in a tragic need for them. We saw how dangerous and partially random is the outcome when wealthy countries lower their barriers (as with the dramatic inflow of refugees in Germany, also swollen by the entrance of Albanians). Nevertheless, it is not about resources, it is about ideas that we bred as to justify the fact we owed resources in such a massive amount that others were forced to try entering our countries so to obtain a decent living. This doesn't concern only immigrants, it concerns poor people, homeless people, disabled people and people who grew up in underdeveloped areas of rich countries. But by looking at the entire picture - those who win and those who lose - only digs deep in the understanding that we must rethink about justice toward those who are in need, more than thinking about a form of stability that is not meant to a wise and balanced use of resources, as it only leaves out those who have no voice or power to take what they want by using force.
As a conclusion, both safety from violence and social security must be prioritised, especially because if citizens feel unsafe, being them right or wrong in their concerns, they must see their concerns addressed by policy-makers. But we can do it only if we ground solidly this search for a balance in justice. If borders are - as now - a barrier aimed at discouraging the "have nots" from finding a decent living, Europe is doomed to be unjust, and illegitimate in its position of a promoter of peace and justice all over the world; that is, we would undermine not only a marginal, but the very core of Europe's political legitimisation and practical function.
1) the first problem lies in the idea that borders are open as soon as there is no control at all. There's truth in this argument, but despite it, the real problem of borders openness is not in the existence of checks, but rather in their function. Here lies the distinction between criminal and immigrant without visa. The hypothetical checks I mentioned are not meant to stop immigrants, but they are not even meant to "send back" criminals. Criminals would be wanted in the country they're entering (so they would be under trial there), in another country (so they would be under trial in the country considered, if other conditions don't apply: risks to be threatened as political refugees, with torture, or similar). The umbrella authorities also dealing with internationally wanted criminals are once more Interpol, Europol, etc. But the function has nothing to do with preventing them from entering a country, but rather with the objective of guaranteeing law and order. The border so wouldn't be closed, but just jointly guarded as many other key infrastructures inside the country.
2) In a second instance, this so delicate machinery is still to be considered in its long-term function. It is not useless to imagine its future developments, as its use would be to lead to further openness when conditions apply and time has come. This so to distinguish between immigrants and criminals, without losing the guarantees that are part of citizenship. This is - indeed - what empires as the Roma one did with time, offering more than one degree of citizenship, which then led to the formation of another international regime. So, you see that the function on the long term is even farer to closed borders than it is on the short term.
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