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Fortress Britannia: Why Not a Schengen Country?

Fortress Britannia: Why Not a Schengen Country?

Old Nov 29th, 2007, 07:20 AM
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Fortress Britannia: Why Not a Schengen Country?

a post by flanneur.uk says:

<from January 2008, the extension of Schengen to virtually all the EU except Britain, Ireland, Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria>

and even some non EU countries i believe like Switzerland which i think joins this Jan as well (not sure)

Q- why is U.K. and Ireland (which i assumes goes along with UK policy as a practical measure) the only countries of dozens in western Europe not in the Schengen Accords, which eased border formalities amongst european 'Schengen' countries - meant to ease the free passage of goods and citizens between European countries.

Travelers on the Continent are no longer usually inconvnienced by border controls - but entering the U.K. means to fill out a Landing Card (soon to be replaced by a 150 question form!) and then perhaps lines, at airports often very long, to pass thru intra-European Customs.

Why not the U.K. in Schengen? Why the difference?

Is there any move towards entering?
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 07:25 AM
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Wikipedia mentions what I have always heard as the reason why the UK hasnt signed - recluctance to give up its own border controls:

The United Kingdom and Ireland are the only two EU members to not have signed the Schengen Agreement: both have an opt-out from the agreement. The two countries share a Common Travel Area with no border controls. Ireland is thus unable to join the agreement without dissolving this agreement with the UK, and thus incurring border controls at its land border with Northern Ireland. However, the UK remains reluctant to surrender its own border controls and work permit system. Therefore, UK and Ireland are signatories of the Council Decision covering police co-operation, but not of the Council Regulations covering asylum, visas and border controls.

The reluctance of the UK government to join the agreement has been criticised by some, such as the House of Lords, for, seemingly paradoxically, hampering the fight against cross-border crime. This is due to the inability of the UK to access the Schengen Information System, which contains data, among else, on undesirables.]

In October 2007, the UK Government announced plans to introduce an electronic border control system by 2009. This led to speculation that the Common Travel Area would end.[6] However in response to a question on the issue, the Irish Taoiseach (i.e. Prime Minister) stated "On the question of whether this is the end of the common travel area and should we join Schengen, the answer is 'no'."
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 07:37 AM
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The powers-that-be don't trust the other Schengen countries' controls; or rather, they don't think it's worth the fuss the Europhobe press would make (e.g., "[Minister's name] surrenders - Brussels bureaucrats* to decide who gets in").

*or substitute a slighting reference to any country's police who can be hinted to be variously sloppy, corrupt, overbureaucratic, or whatever national stereotype they want to play up.
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 08:14 AM
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They don't trust immigration in the rest of the EU, as simple as that. I would suspect that some of the other countries would have opted out if it were more practical - the UK, as an island nation can do it easier than Germany.
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 08:17 AM
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Alongside the argument over UK's reluctance to give up its own border control, the complexity of UK immigration law must surely be a factor. With the history of the Empire and now the Commonwealth and other British involvements overseas, there exists a multitude of citizenships with varying rights of entry and residence, such as British citizen, British overseas citizen, British subject, British protected person, Commonwelth citizen with right of abode and citizenships of such places as HK, Gib, Falkands, Bermuda etc. It will be one heck of an undertaking to unravel all that to mesh with Schengen rules.
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 08:18 AM
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Too easy to get into Schengen as an illegal immigrant. If UK was part of Schengen then even more of those illegals would make their way to the UK (most of them try to anyway).

As it is the UK can, in theory, chuck them back into Schengen

Do a search for "sangatte refugee camp" to find out why joining Schengen would be political suicide for any UK government - it's about as likely to happen as proper gun controls in the US
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 08:29 AM
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Sounds more like "Outpost" instead of "Fortress" and, of course, someone always has to bring up what has or has not happened in the US for comparisons.
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 08:56 AM
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Most Schengen countries have very long "green" borders - there combatting cross-border crime, illegal immigration etc. can only be done by cooperation between the countries. It makes sense for Germany or France - because of the access to the databases, hot pursuit rules etc. that come with Schengen.

Since UK and Ireland are islands the access control is easier and is more of a practicable solution. But OTOH - how is the cooperation between UK and Schengen criminal databases? I donīt know.
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 09:17 AM
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With due respect to Dukey, there is always reluctance of super powers to join alliances - witness the US isolationist policy. Some say that without a North American union, we will never compete, in an economic sense, with the EU.
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 09:23 AM
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Dukey most of the people who post here are American, therefore giving them an example of something that is politically unacceptable in the US enables them to understand why Schengen is politically unacceptable to UK governments
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 09:32 AM
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Dukey

It would almost be like opening the border with Mexico, and letting anyone in, legal or not, travelling via Mexico.

The comparison with the US is a comparison, not a criticism.

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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 09:45 AM
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The U.S.-Canada border is increasingly hard to cross and my also be an apt comparison

Common sense says that with NAFTA borders could be abolished and the U.S. and Canada as a whole could join forces to do exterior border checks - much like Schengen countries

Yet this would be about as palpable to American politicos worried about the common conservative complaint about U.S. yielding our powers to foreign countries.

I would think the Canadians could do as well at their entry points as we do and it makes sense, just like Schengen to abolish borders between the two countries for Customs purposes.

The current backlog at border points like Windsor-Detroit, said to be the biggest in commerce i believe, take a huge toll on businesses and have scared away folks who would and formerly did cross the border more frequently
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 10:52 AM
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>Some say that without a North American union, we will never compete, in an economic sense, with the EU.<

NAFTA wasn't sufficient?



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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 10:57 AM
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"Some say that without a North American union, we will never compete, in an economic sense, with the EU."

Well, "some" are wrong. The US currently competes, as evidenced by a significantly higher GDP per capita than the EU. Indeed the GDP per capita of the US as a whole is higher than just about any country in the EU (save maybe Luxembourg and Ireland).
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 11:07 AM
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And California by itself i've seen ranked ahead of or at par with any EU country i believe in GNP
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 11:27 AM
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The US is still bigger than the EU combined.

That said, the City of London (one square mile), if it were a country, would be the seventh largest economy in the world.
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 11:33 AM
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What bloody fortress?

Unshackled by the xenophobic Schengen nonsense, we create our own immigrastion policy. Which benefits the world.

It means we allowed the "new" EU member states unrestricted access to jobs in Britain while every single Schengen member state except Sweden - displaying the "solidarity" (ie rampant selfishness) we expect from the most insular political institution outside the United States - threw the shutters up on the Poles et al.

Allowing mass imigration boosted our economy. Over half the jobs created in Europe since 2000 have been in Britain. For most of this decade, moving here has been the ONLY way most of Schengen's young can get a job.

And it's not just Europeans. We let aliens stay six months in Britain: the poor foreigner-frightened isolationists in the bits (ie most) of Europe that's going down the pan are petrified of letting people stay in the whole of Schengen for three months. Frightened they might introduce non-European conepts like geting off their arses and working a full week, or keeping on working past the age of 45, no doubt.

And that's not all. Our Highly Skilled Migrant Programme - which no-one else in Europe dares copy - means any non-European with a decent career and salary record can come and work here.

Inside Schengen, we'd be forced to abandon our open society and start preventing foreigners - including other EU nationals - from living and working here, the way the Germans do. Just like when we were dumb enough to join the Common Market: we were forced to stop importing food from efficient countries, and now have use our taxes to subsidise the idle French, from whom we have to buy however inefficient they are.

For the hundreds of thousands of Europeans who'd be out of a job if we'd been in Schengen, or the millions of non-European tourists who can stay here for a great deal longer than the Schengenites allow, a few minutes at a UK immigration queue is trivial.

Anyway, why queue? Sign up for the iris recognition system and you don't even need a passport to get in.
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 11:39 AM
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flanneur:

So in the current episode of your favorite TV show - Coronation Street - Canada - about ten months delay - the girls in the UnderWorld underwear factory have nothing to be worried about when the first foreign EU worker arrove - from Poland and is apparently working for a much lower wage than the old-timers who are afraid they will have to take a pay cut or lose their jobs?

they - a metaphor i think for many low-wage earners in UK from the proverbial Polish plumbers - will not be negatively impacted by this open door policy you trumpet

I understand the wealthier business segment of the society will greatly benefit but it's always the common blokes i more care about.

Or will they benefit from some trickle down benefit from the surge of foreign workers?
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 11:47 AM
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PalenQ, you watch Coronation Street?
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 11:52 AM
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Yes it's my favorite TV show. gives me a great insight into a typical, 'real' English culture.
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