The Instigator
Francesco_Finucci
Pro (for)
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The Contender
TimHawks
Con (against)
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0 Points

Should EU borders be opened?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/3/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 392 times Debate No: 81984
Debate Rounds (4)
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Francesco_Finucci

Pro

"No one is illegal" and "RefugeesWelcome" have recently intercepted media's interest as a counterpart of the outcry caused by the rejection of mass immigration in European countries. The main argument concerning the protests and activities linked to the RefugeesWelcome hashtag campaign is that we just can't look at what happens. That is, that we must do something. But is the refugees crisis just the peak of an underlying systemic problem concerning the distribution of resources and the freedom of human being all around the world?

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?

Sources:
Philippe Legrain's article: http://www.nytimes.com...
Open Borders: http://openborders.info...
TimHawks

Con

I would tend to believe that a completely open border policy could be quite dangerous. Remember that all of these countries have established their borders for a reason. While most of the European borders are a result of long political histories, they still serve a purpose even today. Not all countries in the EU are as prosperous as one another. Compare, for instance, Greece to Germany. Greece is clearly not as prosperous as Germany. Many of these less prosperous countries simply do not have the resources to deal with this influx of immigration. This is why many of these immigrants, or I would prefer to call the refugees as that is what they are, are getting stuck in some of these less prosperous countries who do not even have the resources to forward them along to countries like Germany who has said they are willing to take them. Much of the concern with borders in 21st Century has involved the issue of resources. There are very few instances in modern times where one country invades another as a means to expand their territory. This is not the age of Imperialism. Most foreign invasion is due to either need to control or need to influence certain resources. This is the primary purpose of most of our borders in contemporary geography. I would not disagree with the assertion that their are some nations which could afford to have a much more open border policy. The US, Germany, and UK represent good examples of this. But even these countries have legitimate concerns which prevent them from fully opening their borders. One of these concerns deals with terrorism. While I am not suggesting that all of these refugees, or even most of them, are terrorists, some of them are, indeed, terrorists. I believe that it would be reckless to fully open the borders of many of these nations knowing that terrorists have espoused an interest in attacking these nations. While their is some debate as to how many terrorists and what level of threat they pose, I would say that this offers a strong counterpoint to these European nations simply opening their borders.

http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu...
http://www.express.co.uk...
Debate Round No. 1
Francesco_Finucci

Pro

Hi. I would agree with many of your arguments, but I think they all aim at one viewpoint concerning borders that doesn't provide with a comprehensive image of the problem. Borders have a role, and if we see at the history of modern Europe, we see how violently the change even of only one of them affected peace in the continent. So they have both a logistic function and historical roots. But just think about it from this point of view: it's not black and white. It's not about closure and borders or anarchy. Sure, the lack of controls may lead to a too quick inflow in richer countries (which as you said, are not necessarily rich, they could just be less poor than others). But nevertheless a rethinking can be carried out if we think about how to deal with the different functions borders have in Europe.

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.
TimHawks

Con

I do not disagree that Europe could stand to rethink their borders and make some general concessions about how and when they allow people into the various countries, but the argument was whether or not their borders should be open. Basically the idea of open borders means that no one is denied entry for any reason. This takes into no account the fact that there are people out there who would like to do harm to the various European nations. Even if your argument is that everyone should be allowed free travel in and out of Europe as long as they are not criminals or terrorists, this single caveat is enough to label the European borders as not truly open. Further, because each European country has its own government which is responsible for handling crimes in its own way, if you were to merely check the identity of those entering a country without ever detaining them, these countries would open themselves up to a great deal of liability not only to their own citizens if they were allowing known criminals into their countries, but they would also open themselves up to a great deal of liability to all the countries with whom they have extradition treaties as those treaties usually require them to detain someone who is suspected of a crime. In short, I do not debate that the European Union could do a better job making travel easier between the various countries and making it easier for those with passports to get in and out, but I do think that simply opening up the borders and allowing anyone entrance only invites people to take advantage of a weakness.
Debate Round No. 2
Francesco_Finucci

Pro

I understand your point, but there are two arguments I think should be considered:

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.
TimHawks

Con

TimHawks forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Francesco_Finucci

Pro

Francesco_Finucci forfeited this round.
TimHawks

Con

TimHawks forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
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