Freedom of movement

It looks as if the EU’s Shengen days are numbered.  Queue of lorries at the Ukraine border with Poland

Thank goodness, I hear you say. Sanity returns.

But be careful what you wish for. I remember well the queues of stinking lorries at border crossings, waiting interminably for the cynical attention of the customs crews, who now and then threw a sickie or struck in the name of solidarity with something or other. Train drivers, air-traffic controllers, farmers…..

And if you were unlucky enough to be carrying goods requiring their attention, it was ‘back of the line for you, my lad, car or no car’. I have spent whole half-days between Belgium and France, Holland and Germany. Friday afternoons in summer were always particularly unpleasant among short-tempered drivers eager to get home and short-tempered customs officers reluctant to let them.

Ho hum.

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  1. November 16, 2015 at 8:44 am

    Janus, it seems that Europe is forever launching initiatves that are not thought through.

    The Euro
    Shengen
    Iraq
    Syria

    It all seems to be about quick reactions these days without doing any kind of risk analysis. Before any of these initiatives if someone had run a simple Risk Management Workshop they would have realised the pitfalls and done something different. It is a standard tool of project managers, but seems not to be used for major game changing European projects.

  2. November 16, 2015 at 8:46 am

    p.s. changing the subject was a good move 🙂

  3. November 16, 2015 at 9:58 am

    Exactly. Knee-jerk politics. I’m afraid the furore on my RIP blog will run and run because there’s alot of emotion around.

  4. November 16, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Did the politicians not think about why the borders came about in the first place.

    Thought not.

  5. November 16, 2015 at 10:11 am

    janus
    I’m afraid the furore on my RIP blog will run and run because there’s a lot of emotion around.

    I should hope so.

  6. November 16, 2015 at 10:29 am

    So do I, jazz.

    The borders separated nations which could not agree about anything. Most of them not as old as one might think. Except when the nations were islands! Now the borders will be ‘internal’ check-points. Why not have more check-points then inside member states and avoid the aggro?

  7. sheona
    November 16, 2015 at 10:37 am

    “Why not have more check-points then inside member states and avoid the aggro?” Then the queues are just in a different place, aren’t they? What is needed is more profiling.

  8. November 16, 2015 at 11:19 am

    Yes, Sheona, but free passage between states will not be impeded! That’s the issue, innit?

  9. November 16, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    Janus: oh, I have not forgotten! Luxembourgian border officials were never the most charming or enchanting of people to deal with! The Huns were no better! Even today bloody Hunland pressures Luxembourg to limit the sales of cigarettes to Huns shopping in the Grand Duchy. GEMA on occasion attempts to collect licence fees in neighbouring countries — to no avail. In general, however, people would not be stopped for the purpose of collecting customs duties as they no longer exist with the EEA in most instances. You really must avoid conflating a border identity check with a regular border crossing, mate!

    Schengen worked well when countries largely abided by common rules and the Schengen Area’s external borders were largely secure. Had Schengen members developed contingency plans for dealing with border crises — they happen on occasion — most of these problems could largely have been avoided. But it is typical for the “New Europe” to tear apart what works, replace it with a fantasy and then whinge when things spiral out of control.

  10. November 17, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    I think people need to realise that they cannot have their cake and eat it, despite the attraction of that proposition. You cannot have open borders without the sort of crap that Europe is facing right now. You cannot have total security without a having a nanny state. You cannot have social services without being overtaxed. You cannot have equality without having PC bullshit.

    For me, Europe ceased being fun when they allowed the riff-raff in. I am talking about package holidays from Manchester.

  11. November 17, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    Sipu: I agree with you fully. Rare, innit? There are always two sides to everything. Even the Nordic states have had to cut their social spending as they could not sustain it. The PC bit is slowly dying and the veneer of manners is breaking apart under pressure,but far too much damage that could easily have been avoided as been done.

    Much of Europe has been wrecked by mass-tourism. In some instances, entire countries such as Ireland have become tourist traps. It’s hardly worth travelling in the summer as it’s almost impossible to turn around. What makes the Nordic countries nicer is that their exorbitant cost of living keeps the riff-raff out!

  12. November 17, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    Exactly. Good ‘ere, innit? 😎

  13. November 17, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    Janus: quite! Although I am eternally grateful that I can holiday in Copenhagen without having to pay for a hotel or B&B!

  14. November 17, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    We’re off to the Lisbon area next summer to celebrate Mrs J’s **th! Cost? The whole deal inc travel for the same as a few days in Skagen. 😎

  15. November 17, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Or a cuppa in Bergen!

  16. christinaosborne
    November 17, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    One way the internal borders could have been preserved free of hassle. A ring of steel round Europe, gun boats repelling wogs from arriving at all. Drag the boats back to their point of departure, unload at gun point, wreck boat. Any landing, shoot them. Would have stopped the whole shebang in the first 12 hours at very little coast to life or treasury. But no one had the balls!
    God rot all politicians and bleeding heart liberals.

  17. sheona
    November 17, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    Having to stop and show my passport at borders never bothered me and one got all sorts of exciting stamps. I remember French customs men coming into the train compartment I was in on my way back from Brussels, laden with chocolate and other goodies. They weren’t bothered about me but searched the luggage of the two nuns in the compartment with me. Apparently nuns’ habits were favourite disguises, a bit like black bin liners nowadays. And it didn’t delay the journey any. I think one could safely call those “the good old days” – not a Kalashnikov in sight. French police regularly check passengers coming from Ventimiglia to see if they are carrying counterfeit goods, especially on a Friday when Ventimiglia has its weekly market and the place is chockablock with African pedlars carrying LV handbags!

  18. November 18, 2015 at 12:47 am

    Entering Hong Kong is a quick and efficient process. Passports are taken, scanned and an entrance label is fixed into said documents with a staple. So long as all documents are in order there are no delays. If they aren’t, offenders are taken to an office for “further investigation”. Should there be a problem they are turned around at the border. No time wasted and, for anyone from a civilised country, it is a perfectly pleasant experience. I should add that the Chinese do much the same. So long as no one tries anything stupid they’re content to allow them to pass into the People’s Republic. If they are trying something, they will be detained in short order.

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