What’s left from Schengen? My interview with l’Observateur

What’s left from Schengen? My interview with l’Observateur

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What’s left from Schengen? Germany, the guardian of the temple

A summary of an article of the French weekly l’Observateur in which I good give some answers to Germany’s Schengen policy:

New controls in the member states, higher fences, and divided populations… the refugee crisis will put an end to a fenceless world. A trip to a disintegrated Europe. Fifth stage: Germany

Why is Angela Merkel the only one who pleads for receiving refugees? Is she trying not to repeat a new iron curtain?, asks the German Ambassador in Paris Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut. Is Ms. Merkel Europe´s mommy?

„It´s my duty to find a collective European solution“, says Merkel surprising her listeners. „There is no romance in it, but pragmatism. She wants an efficient Europe, which this one is not“, says Bernd Hüttemann, Secretary General of the European Movement Germany.

Merkel is the only leader with a long-term view, who pleads for redistributing migrants, for finding a compromise with Turkey and protecting Schengen, states Robert Goebbels, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg.

The member states criticise Merkel´s position, since she sent too many welcoming signals to migrants, even though Europe cannot take all refugees anymore, says the French prime minister Manuel Valls. Europeans disapprove her unilateral decisions. Germany, with its strong economy and its demographic deficit, is the only country which really benefits from cheap external labor. France the other way round, does not, says the former ambassador and researcher at Carnegie Europe Marc Pierini.

Angela Merkel is more and more isolated: within Europe, Germany and her party CDU. „We should put an end to wishes and illusions. I can understand the Austrian and the Visegrad-States´s position. Closing borders may also be an option for Germany itself. But does it mean that Schengen is dying? What kind of European project can we have if every country closes its borders?“, asks CDU-MP Philipp Lengsfeld.

Under pressure Merkel was forced to reintroduce controls at the borders and to stop the arrival of economic migrants. Following the Austrian and Swedish example, German public opinion started to back right-wing parties. Almost 42% declare themselves favorable to border controls.

Meanwhile Bernd Hüttemann hopes that Germans won´t lose faith in the European ideas, and also the German Association of Federal Armed Forces underline the importance of a borderless Europe for the stability and peace of our continent.

„Schengen is essential for Germany, and closing borders is no option for the 21st century“, said Merkel. However, there is something paradoxical here, since „she may continue to criticize the closing of the Balkan borders, but she would have needed to do the same if more refugees had come“, says the Spiegel-journalist Ralf Neukirch. „Closing the, Macedonian-Greek border will save Schengen. No one can openly say that, but that is a fact“, stated Bernd Hüttemann. In fact, the number of migrants to Germany dropped as a consequence of the close-down of the Balkan route. Greece may suffocate, but Germany can breathe again.

Read the full article in French language.