- Macron Says Schengen Zone Needs to be Smaller. Which Country Did He Have in Mind?
Citing concerns over border security, French President Emmanuel Macron has declared that the EU’s visa-free zone is no longer tenable. But how will he decide who stays and who goes, and is France in the running?
Macron, once billed as a champion for greater EU integration and unity, made a surprising policy U-turn when he stated that the Schengen zone “does not work anymore” and that the bloc’s open-border policy would need to be revised. The French leader also called for an end to the Dublin Regulation, which gives an EU member-state the right to send back asylum seekers to the first country of entry to the bloc.
His comments have been interpreted as concessions to the anti-globalist Yellow Vest movement, but Macron may have a difficult time explaining why he once railed against nations which opposed Brussels’ decrees about open borders and asylum seekers – only to make an abrupt about-face.
How does Macron envision this smaller, more border-conscious Schengen zone, and what factors will be used to decide which nations are no longer worthy of being part of the visa-free agreement? Is it possible that France – shaken by an influx of migrants, terrorism and social unrest – is a perfect candidate for exclusion from Macron’s new Schengen agreement?
Who stays and who goes?
While the French president believes that the Schengen area, which is comprised of 22 EU member-states and four non-EU countries, is no longer tenable, he failed to elaborate on which countries will get the visa-free boot. How would a future, more security-savvy Schengen zone be determined? Excluding economically-challenged member states such as Greece or Italy could perhaps be a way to keep economic migrants at bay. Likewise, countries gripped by social strife, such as in Sweden, with its crime-plagued “no-go zones,” could be ideal candidates for Schengen exclusion.
Or is Macron setting his sights on economic powerhouse Germany? Kicking Germany out of the zone seems unfathomable, but repeated terrorist attacks coupled with an increasingly uncertain political and social climate fuelled by its generous intake of asylum seekers could put Berlin on the blacklist.