The collapse of Schengen

by on March 1, 2016 at 2:30 pm in Current Affairs, Economics, Law, Political Science | Permalink

This is between Austria and Germany, two of the “closest” EU economies in terms of trade and similarity:

FREILASSING, Germany — Traffic along one of Europe’s busiest highways, which used to flow unimpeded, now often backs up for miles at a newly installed checkpoint, where a phalanx of German police officers screens trucks and cars for hidden migrants.

At this border crossing, as a result, Austrians who work in Germany have trouble getting to their jobs. Many companies in Germany must wait days longer for deliveries of food, machine parts and other goods. Shoppers who made quick weekend jaunts to Freilassing’s stores now mostly stay away.

“It’s really bad,” said Karl Pichler, the owner of a large gardening center here in Freilassing, whose sales of tulips, rose bushes and other plants has slumped as longtime customers from Austria have stopped coming.

…With 57 million vehicles a year and 1.7 million workers a day crossing Europe’s frontiers, the European Union could face up to 18 billion euros, or $19.6 billion, each year in lost business, steeper freight and commuter costs, interruptions to supply chains, and government outlays for augmented border policing, according to a recent report by the European Commission, the bloc’s administrative arm.

Should the European Union revert to permanent border checks to slow Syrian, Afghan and Iraqi migrants traveling through Greece and the west Balkans toward Northern Europe, the long-term cost could exceed €100 billion, the French government calculated in a separate study.

Here is the full story (NYT), and do note that long-run elasticities are much greater than short-run elasticities.  So if this continues, the longer-run effects on cross-border trade, not to mention EU governance, could be quite dire indeed.  And right now that is the default scenario.

1 yo March 1, 2016 at 2:33 pm

So Al Q has won, I guess?

2 Clifford Clayton March 1, 2016 at 6:45 pm

Mohamed Cloward-Piven

3 Arjun March 1, 2016 at 2:39 pm

Seems like modern European institutions are hell-bent on locking in disastrous feedback loops. In response to the migrant crisis, they 1) bury their heads in the sand until they can no longer ignore the crisis gripping North Africa and the Middle East, and then 2) do a utter bungling of dealing with migrants and refugees, fueling chaos and fear within their borders and doing very little to integrate or smooth the inherently chaotic nature of migration. And now, their security responses are weakening their own economies, thus inflaming the socio-economic concerns that usually underpin xenophobia and racism, which in turn exacerbate the crisis caused by uncoordinated migration flows.

And all the while, they *still* sell weapons to Saudi Arabia and look for ways to get their nation’s corporations and conglomerates to buy up assets in the Middle East and North Africa, further fueling that region’s social and economic crisis.

4 Art Deco March 1, 2016 at 4:15 pm

doing very little to integrate or smooth the inherently chaotic nature of migration.

That’s not going to serve their interests. Escorting the ‘refugees’ back to camps in Turkey will (though that does not apply to the remora who were never in Syria to begin with). You can be hard-nosed from the get-go or you pay the penalty later by having to use a great deal of live ammo.

5 Daniel Dostal March 1, 2016 at 5:57 pm

Germany needs low wage workers. Isn’t this in their best interests to bring them in and assimilate them?

6 Art Deco March 1, 2016 at 6:41 pm

“Needs” “low wage workers’ for what purpose?

7 CorvusB March 1, 2016 at 6:50 pm

Work. It’s the same reason the US sees a lot of illegal immigration from Mexico and Asia. Cheap labor is in demand. I shouldn’t have to explain that to you, so I have to wonder if you have an ulterior objective for your question.

8 A Definite Beta Guy March 1, 2016 at 7:43 pm

The same reason Virginia did in 1800. Someone needs to do the work, right?

9 Jason Bayz March 1, 2016 at 7:47 pm

Cocaine is in demand too, doesn’t mean we “need” it or that it is not detrimental to let it flow.

10 Nathan W March 1, 2016 at 9:14 pm

Low wage labour is a lot like cocaine. OK.

11 Art Deco March 1, 2016 at 11:27 pm

I shouldn’t have to explain that to you, so I have to wonder if you have an ulterior objective for your question

I shouldn’t have to explain it to you that the answer ‘work’ is stupidly vague. What are you trying to do that you cannot substitute locals at prevailing wages, automate, or forego? To state a ‘need’ is worthless unless you have a purpose in mind.

12 Massimo March 1, 2016 at 7:02 pm

Saudi Arabia imports low wage guest workers because it needs them. Immigrants aren’t being pulled to Germany because of demand, they are coming for their own benefit. The German government is suppressing resistance and protest.

13 Nathan W March 1, 2016 at 9:16 pm

Are there instances of banned protests? People going to jail for non-violent protest? What kinds of suppression are we talking about? Or, is this merely a matter than Merkel isn’t saying what the fearmongers want her to say?

14 So Much For Subtlety March 1, 2016 at 10:46 pm

Yes, there have been banned protests. Pegida has been banned from marching in both Germany and France. Two seconds googling ….

The Germans are also moving to ban the NDP. Yet again. The Party has about 5,000 members. Previous attempts failed when the Courts found that most of the racist material it produced had been produced by informants (some 15% of the leadership) within the Party. Rather like Canada’s experience with its Human Rights Tribunals. They did send three members to prison for Volksverhetzung – over a poster that was never distributed.

But then the German Parliament thinks it is sensible to ban shirts from the wrong manufacturer.

15 Art Deco March 1, 2016 at 11:29 pm

Saudi Arabia imports low wage guest workers because it needs them.

No, Saudi Arabia imports labor because it’s a skill-deficient, work-resistant society. Labor imports conjoined to state patronage have been narcotics in all the societies along the Persian Gulf.

16 Art Deco March 1, 2016 at 11:31 pm

What kinds of suppression are we talking about?

Why not have a word with the people who used to run the Vlaams Blok, once Belgium’s largest party?

17 Nathan W March 2, 2016 at 12:32 am

SMFS – OK, that goes a lot further than I would actively support. As for Googling stuff, it seems a lot easier to ask people who express knowledge of something than to go chasing around the internet for stuff that I don’t even know the right keywords for. The appropriate response, I believe, is “try Googling *text string*”, not berating people for failing to Google things they don’t know about. Indeed, Google is fast when you know what you are looking for.

I only support bans so far as criminal treatment of speech which promotes violence, and prefer the use of free speech to oppose offensive and otherwise peaceful hate speech. I don’t doubt you will be tempted to paint that into some extreme of black and white thinking though …

18 So Much For Subtlety March 2, 2016 at 4:03 am

It matters because you are so enthusiastic in commenting. Despite not being, how does one put this, one of the best informed commentators here. An enormous percentage of this blog is taken up with your posts.

It is like a classroom that has a disruptive boy who attempts to answer every question. What is unusual is that this does not bother you and you do not use this opportunity to learn.

As for “promoting violence” we are coming along for a change. Of course in the mind of the Left anything can “promote” violence. Capitalism for instance. So you are moving away from your previous claims to something closer to your track record.

19 Nathan W March 2, 2016 at 4:49 am

SMFS – I’m here to learn. Yes, I also argue in favour of my perspectives, but unambiguously acknowledge when my perspectives are demonstrated to be based on poor information or some failure to fully consider some alternative perspective. I offer such acknowledgement each and every time that happens, something it appears you may never have done once in your entire life. I wish to understand other perspectives, and only by challenging them can you come to understand the reasons that other people view the world they do.

Your preference seems to be to paint people into extremist position on any matter of disagreement, and having painted them with false colours, then proceed to berate them for their extremism. You do not seek to understand them, and therefore cannot learn.

20 Horhe March 2, 2016 at 8:05 am

@Nathan W:

Dutch Police Threaten Whites
January 31, 2016 by TNO Staff— in Europe · 25 Comments

Dutch police are being sent to threaten white people who dared send out mildly-critical social media messages about the “refugee” invasion on the grounds that they are being “seditious”—while at the same time, they mollycoddle nonwhite invader criminals who riot and attack policemen.
According to a report in the Dutch NRC newspaper, Dutch people on Twitter who oppose invader camps in that country “can expect a visit from the police.”
At the same time, a report in the Telegraaf newspaper revealed that dozens of “asylum seekers” in Zaandaam had violently attacked police and medical personnel sent in to help them—but no one was even charged in connection with that physical violence.
The NRC article told of a visit by Dutch police last Monday afternoon to the workplace of 28-year-old Mark Jongeneel, in the town of Sliedrecht. After causing an uproar in the office, the two policemen told him, “You tweet too much. We have orders to ask you to watch your tone. Your tweets are seditious.”
The police visit to Jongeneel followed a tweet he had made just prior to a public meeting in the town on a planned invader center in the area. His “crime” was to tweet: “The Council of #Sliedrecht comes with a proposal to take 250 refugees over the next two years. What a bad idea!”
He later tweeted “Should we let this happen?!”
This was obviously an important police matter, and two of Holland’s finest were dispatched to threaten Jongeneel for these “crimes,” leading even the leftist NRC to ask of the police harassment: “Is this even legal?”
The NRC quoted a spokesman for the national police as admitting that they have ten intelligence units of “digital detectives” who do nothing else except monitor Facebook pages and Twitter accounts in real time, looking for posts that go too far.”
A spokesman for the municipality Sliedrecht explained to the NRC that it had called the police in on Jongeneel because they wanted to ensure that any planned demonstration first be cleared with the local authority—although there was no indication in his tweets that he was planning such a thing.
“It’s not like we live in a police state,” the municipality spokesman told the NRC, obviously trying to ward off the next obvious question.

21 Nathan W March 2, 2016 at 9:59 am

Horhe – I’m perhaps even ideologically opposed to that kind of stuff, but I think there is genuine concern that neo-Nazi propaganda might take too strong root, with highly undesirable consequences.

This (concerns about neo-Nazis) does not seem to apply to the situation you mention, and a first glance it seems that the police are absolutely being too sensitive. So sensitive, that I’m inclined to believe that the Tweeter may have posted other offensive materials which were deleted, and those were in fact what cause the police to respond to it. I mean, come ON, a police visit for saying “What a bad idea” and “Should we let this happen?” Call me what you want, but there MUST be more to the story than that. Also, I completely disagree with the characterization of the police visits as “threatening”. Much like with Islamic terrorist risks, I believe the best approach is a friendly visit from the police something to the effect of “We’re on to you. We’re watching you”, rather than trying to set them up and goad them into extremist activities. This is not a threat, it is a call to tone down with virulent propaganda, and it’s like the cops said “or else you’re going to jail” or inferred that he would get his head kicked in if he didn’t stop.

I find the characterization of “invader centre” to be wholly inappropriate, offensive, and suggestive of inaction in the face of refugee flows. Invaders come with weapons, destroy armies, kill political leaders, install their own laws, and in general remake the territory as their own. These people are fleeing war and looking for a better life. I do not know the best way to address this kind of offensive thinking which promotes indifference, hatred and/or irrational fear of these people, who yes, come with their own problems. But I do think that something should be done, and by that I do not mean caving into their demands. It is never suitable to cave in to the demands of those who use hate speech as their primary mode of argumentation, because it will legitimize their views and strategies.

22 Nathan W March 2, 2016 at 1:05 pm

Horhe- I checked out the homepage of the source you linked to. Short: there’s a lot of craaazy stuff on there, for example:

I think that something which describes a “Submachine Gun Attack on Invader Center” as a “major UPTURN in the war against Merkel’s nonwhite invasion PLANS” might qualify as promoting violence against people for the fact of their group identity.

Do you think that kind of speech deserves protection? That isn’t old fashioned racist hate speech. That’s promoting violence. A submachine gun attack described as a “major UPTURN in the war …”.

Most of the comments on the article are disappointed that the gun attack was not more “successful”. Disgustingly, rather than holding the attackers account, several blame it on Merkel, Merkel is responsible for attacks, not the people who committed them. That’s like blaming a rape victim for the directions her father gave to the party. Disgusting. Truly sub-human sort of thinking and behaviour.

If it were up to me, there would be a court order to take down the article or rephrase the article in a way that unambiguously does NOT promote violence against refugees. And, probably, the police should subpeona all information the “news” outlet has on its commentariat, many of which are unambiguously endorsing an escalation of violence against the newcomers. Almost every single comment on that board is sufficiently far off the deep end that these guys should be on a (boo!) watch list.

This is not run of the mill hate speech. These guys want blood, and lots of it.

Free speech has limits. The site you reference is populated with people who have not only crossed the line, but are comfortable going ten miles past it as well.

23 Nathan W March 2, 2016 at 1:57 pm

Let’s say I make a post which has roughly the following imbued meaning.

“Here’s the address of a KKK meeting place. They meet every week at X time. Gather your guns and let’s kill them all.”

Would you support a police investigation against me for doing so, perhaps so far as receiving criminal sanction?

Change the story a bit. I’m not an anonymous commenter. I’m a known “news” outlet, essentially doing precisely this. Say, the Washington post publishes a story which promotes the idea that people should gather their guns, march on KKK homes or meeting places, and make use of those guns. What is the role of the state in such a situation? Should the Washington Post, in such a scenario, benefit from free speech protections? If, indeed, some people go and attack KKK homes and meeting places shortly after publishing that article, should the police and prosecutors shrug their shoulders and say “free speech trumps all”?

24 Pavel Obraztcov March 6, 2016 at 1:17 am

Well, maybe it does. Except last year Germany introduced minimum wages which might actually reduce demand for low wage workers.

25 8 March 1, 2016 at 4:24 pm

Modern European institutions are hellish, so of course they are hell-bent on locking in disastrous feedback loops. The modern progressive movement is a long drawn out death spiral and we are hopefully witnessing its last gasp. The closing of borders is not part of the plan, it’s an effort to stop the nationalists from taking over as they have in Hungary and Poland. If it were up to the Eurocrats, they’d find more Africans and Arabs to flood the continent.

26 Vivian Darkbloom March 1, 2016 at 2:46 pm

And, none of these internal controls would be necessary if there were stricter controls and enforcement at the entry points to the EU.

27 JB March 1, 2016 at 2:55 pm

You mean the thousands of miles of Mediterranean coastline of barely-functional states one step away from sending their own waves of refugees north?

The borderless EU area was always an end-of-history peacetime mirage. If it wasn’t this crisis, it’d have been another, but there was no way that part of the EU project survived the first blow.

28 Urso March 1, 2016 at 3:17 pm

In retrospect, the most amazing thing about the great European migrant crisis of 2015-16 is that it didn’t happen decades earlier. All of a sudden, tens of thousands of people remembered just how close Europe actually was.

29 Nathan W March 1, 2016 at 9:18 pm

It’s as though the civil war in Syria isn’t even relevant or something …

30 Urso March 2, 2016 at 3:11 pm

Hm, the Syrian civil war started in 2015?

31 Nathan W March 2, 2016 at 9:41 pm

Refugees don’t always leave a war zone on the day it breaks out. It can easily take a few years of war until you start to lose hope, having seen altogether too many friends, family and community members end up dead.

32 Urso March 3, 2016 at 10:12 am

That must be why you fled Canada for China.

33 prior_test1 March 1, 2016 at 11:50 pm

‘In retrospect, the most amazing thing about the great European migrant crisis of 2015-16 is that it didn’t happen decades earlier.’

Just as if the wars involving the break up of Yuguslovia never happened decades earlier, either.

34 Urso March 2, 2016 at 3:11 pm

Was this intended to be responsive in some way?

35 Arjun March 2, 2016 at 11:00 am

>All of a sudden, tens of thousands of people remembered just how close Europe actually was.

Yeah, its not like a major nation in North Africa was recently destroyed by a NATO intervention or anything.

36 VIvian Darkbloom March 1, 2016 at 3:17 pm

The migrant routes are well known and the arrival points comprise a relatively small area. If all the EU member states were equally determined to stop the flow, it would be severely restricted and potential migrants would be dissuaded from trying. That would be an overall improvement for nearly everyone. Those who want open borders don’t want external border enforcement; so, when it comes to the costs arising from enforcing second lines of defense, I’m not impressed by what appears to be a smug “I told you so” attitude.

But, yeah, if those “barely functional states” are not up to it, they do not belong in the EU and should not have been admitted in the first place. That was an early “open border” mistake, the price of which is becoming apparent in many, many ways.

37 Bob from Ohio March 1, 2016 at 3:19 pm

The Australians are successfully stopping migrant boats. They are not letting them in but either sending them back or interning them on Nauru.

Its not new to the region either. During the Palestinian Mandate period, the British intercepted Jews at sea and interned them on Cyprus.

Its the lack of will that stops them, not ability.

38 jb March 1, 2016 at 3:30 pm

During the Palestinian Mandate period, Britain was a highly functional, nay ruthless, state. That is not the case for the current rulers of southern Europe.

As Vivian said, no EU state has much determination to do anything particular outside its own borders.

They built their state before they built their nation, and the state apparatus is thus built on sand. Whereas the US built its nation before its state, and so we can both absorb way more immigrants before it becomes a crisis, and handle an immigration crisis much more smoothly.

39 Vivian Darkbloom March 1, 2016 at 4:03 pm

“As Vivian said, no EU state has much determination to do anything particular outside its own borders”.

Not exactly what Vivian said. The simple legal fact is that Germany, for example, doesn’t really have the power to employ immigration officials or police in, for example, Greece or Italy. It’s not necessarily that Germany, France, etc., don’t have any determination to do so; it is that they have no legal ability to do so. The EU set-up is that each Member State is obliged to enforce EU law at it’s frontier. That’s the essence of the Schengen agreement. If those Member States don’t apply Schengen rules at the EU frontier and entry points, the system will break down. That’s what we are now seeing.

40 JB March 1, 2016 at 5:09 pm

I apologize, I was paraphrasing.

If they had the will, they could revise the legal framework to allow for the type of cooperative enforcement required to interdict/process migrants appropriately. As you said, “If all the EU member states were equally determined to stop the flow, it would be severely restricted” via an adjustment to the legal setup of the EU if need be.

But the will isn’t there, so the frontier is maintained by governments that are not up to the task.

41 Steve Sailer March 1, 2016 at 6:01 pm

As you’ll recall, last September the elected government of EU Hungary was willing to take a stand on its border with non-EU Serbia to protect Europe as a whole by enforcing EU rules.

Hungary was shouted down by globalist elites as practically Nazi for trying to stand up for the EU.

42 Daniel Dostal March 1, 2016 at 6:19 pm


Revising a legal framework is a much more strenuous political process than simply asking everyone if it’s cool to do something. Maybe it shouldn’t be, but I’ve not seen a system where that is the case.

43 Steve Sailer March 1, 2016 at 7:15 pm

The German government tweeted on August 25 that it was no longer going to obey the EU rule that refugees had to stop in the first EU country they arrive at. That’s what set off the world-historical flash mob.

In other words, Merkel’s government unilaterally decided to trash the EU legal framework.

44 Steve Sailer March 1, 2016 at 7:19 pm

“As Vivian said, no EU state has much determination to do anything particular outside its own borders.”

The ghost of the late Col. Qaddafffee of Libya begs to differ.

By the way, Berlusconi struck a successful deal to bribe Col. Kaffaphi to not let refugees head to Europe from Libya. When France and Britain decided to attack Libya in 2011, there was nobody left to work with in Libya, setting off the Libya-Italy Camp of the Saints that we saw a year ago. (Then Erdogan decided to get in on the act, too.)

So, if Europe can blow up governments on the other side of the Mediterranean, why can’t it defend Europe in the Mediterranean?

45 JB March 1, 2016 at 8:31 pm

Steve Sailer,
It’s a hell of a lot easier to blow stuff up than to build stuff. That’s our lesson from Iraq.

Also, basic geography suggests that the “benefits from the first country you stop at” rule combined with “simmering fiscal crisis in the parts of Europe nearest the refugees that the other parts refuse to solve with open-ended transfer payments” was not going to end well. I can’t blame Germany for blowing up the rule, it was a stupid rule. Now, how they blew it up, that’s a different story.

46 Ricardo March 1, 2016 at 10:46 pm

“The German government tweeted on August 25 that it was no longer going to obey the EU rule that refugees had to stop in the first EU country they arrive at.”

The Dublin Regulation is obviously unworkable under present conditions. Large numbers of refugees are fleeing from the Levant and North Africa which means that there first port of entry into the EU is almost always a country on the Southern Mediterranean coast of Europe. That means the country responsible for feeding and housing the refugee while his or her claim is being processed is going to be a country that is already under severe fiscal strain.

47 Steve Sailer March 1, 2016 at 10:59 pm

The German government’s August 25th tweet announcing they would disobey the EU’s rules was seen as an invitation and thus set off the vast mobs that began arriving on the EU’s borders within days.

The timeline is clear.

48 Steve Sailer March 1, 2016 at 11:03 pm

“The Dublin Regulation is obviously unworkable under present conditions.”

Especially the conditions of the German Chancellor unilaterally announcing Europe’s New Order.

It was working to keep refugee flows about an order of magnitude lower until Merkel’s government announced they weren’t going to obey it.

Berlin’s lawlessness was the direct cause of the September disaster. Orban of Hungary tried to stand up for the EU’s rules, but was denounced as a Nazi.

49 Ricardo March 1, 2016 at 11:42 pm

“The timeline is clear.”

Steve, the “timeline” is that before August, the Greek island of Lesbos was receiving 1,000 refugees every day. At around the same time, Turkey had 1.7 million formally registered refugees. This was not a manageable situation without wealthier countries not embroiled in fiscal crises pitching in with either cash assistance or with taking in some of the refugees themselves.

50 Art Deco March 2, 2016 at 7:12 am

This was not a manageable situation without wealthier countries not embroiled in fiscal crises pitching in with either cash assistance or with taking in some of the refugees themselves.

Yes it was a manageable situation. You arrive in Lesbos, and an armed Naval vessel escorts your boat back to Turkey. Any NATO country with ships will do.

51 Anon. March 1, 2016 at 4:13 pm

Europe can’t send anyone back though. They mostly come from Turkey, and Turkey obviously refuses to take them back. Turkey also has zero incentives to stop them from trying to get to Europe.

52 Art Deco March 1, 2016 at 4:17 pm

They mostly come from Turkey,

That’s the sales pitch.

Turkey obviously refuses to take them back.

Time to ratchet up the costs.

53 A Definite Beta Guy March 1, 2016 at 8:01 pm

I don’t blame Turkey. The EU gave them the shaft on admission for years. I’d be laughing my rear-end off were I in Ankara now.

54 Ricardo March 1, 2016 at 11:54 pm

“That’s the sales pitch.”

There are over 1,000 refugees coming ashore on Greek islands every day in inflatable rafts. Where do you think they are coming from if not Turkey?

55 Art Deco March 2, 2016 at 7:13 am

Yep, that’s where they’re coming from and that’s where they’ll be taken back to.

56 Massimo March 1, 2016 at 7:04 pm

lack of will, precisely!

57 Art Deco March 1, 2016 at 4:09 pm

Italy is a ‘barely functional state’?

58 Just Saying March 1, 2016 at 2:57 pm

It costs money to protect your nation from destructive islamists, in the same way it costs money to protect your home from destructive termites.

59 Arjun March 1, 2016 at 4:20 pm

Its absurd to cast the migrants and refugees as “destructive Islamists”. And in any case, its very clear that Europe has little issue with dealing with actual destructive Islamist forces, given the unquestioned economic and political alliance with institutions of the Gulf Arab states–the ultimate source of much of the destructive Sunni jihadist violence that we see today.

60 Art Deco March 1, 2016 at 5:26 pm

Its absurd to cast the migrants and refugees as “destructive Islamists”.

No, more like characters out of the 1977 riots in New York City, like the woman wandering through the furniture store looking for end tables, “there’s just nothing I can use here”.

61 Art Deco March 1, 2016 at 6:43 pm

Nothing suspect about it. Mark Steyn was present when it happened and puts his name on it.

62 Nathan W March 2, 2016 at 12:37 am

That is a vast generalization.

63 dearieme March 1, 2016 at 2:57 pm

Well done, Mrs Merkel. The most destructive European politician since the death of Stalin.

64 A Definite Beta Guy March 1, 2016 at 8:06 pm

Pretty much. Destroyed Southern Economies, refugees flooding in, barbarians on the periphery (Crimea), and internal unity collapsing.

Not all Merkel’s fault, but Merkel certainly hasn’t helped.

65 Moreno Klaus March 2, 2016 at 5:52 am

I am not saying Merkel, is great, but i think this comparison is plain stupid.

66 Ex-Pralite Monk March 2, 2016 at 12:15 pm

Germany has a history of making its internal problems and decisions everyone else’s problem.

67 agra brum March 1, 2016 at 2:59 pm

This seems to be more security theater than anything else.

68 prior_test1 March 2, 2016 at 12:50 am

Exactly – just as if there was a security checkpoint at Weil am Rhein in Germany at the Swiss border (wait, there has been one for decades), where trucks regularly back up for kilometers to cross the border (like this Monday), and where all the local drivers know all the different routes to get into and out of Basel. The trucks are still required to hand over their paperwork, even though Switzerland has been part of the Schengen area since 2004, and the Swiss definitely still continue to use border police and checkpoints (for example, between Italy and Switzerland). In addition, at the Weil am Rhein A5 border crossing, the Swiss are checking to make sure that travellers have bought their year pass to enjoy the Swiss highway system. The Swiss don’t mind having outsiders pay to use their highways when going between north and south Europe, and checking to make sure those who don’t have one have the friendly – and mandatory – opportunity to buy one.

Almost as if a lot of people don’t realize the Schengen agreement means visa free travel between members, instead of completely uncontrolled movement (though that has been the case in many areas, of course).

69 Sam Hardwick March 2, 2016 at 2:25 am

No, that’s not correct. Uncontrolled movement is exactly what Schengen means. No passport control or any other type of identification check is allowed, except in special circumstances for a limited time. These are those special circumstances for a limited time.

70 Peter Akuleyev March 2, 2016 at 3:54 am

I drove across the Austrian German border last week-end. There was a traffic jam because all traffic was being diverted into one lane, but the police waved me right by – no passport control, no id check. The police were just pulling over trucks as far as I could tell. There is still no control whatsoever going from Germany to Austria. Going from Austria to Slovakia or Czech Republic is also still borderless.

71 Deek March 2, 2016 at 6:29 am

No checks between Denmark-Germany last week. Danish police swept the train on the way back though. The checks between Denmark and Sweden are causing huge problems. I’m to pick up my brother at the airport on Friday and my passport will be checked even though I’m not leaving the country. It also means I’ll be watching football in Helsingborg this weekend instead of Malmo.

72 prior_test1 March 2, 2016 at 11:18 am

‘Uncontrolled movement is exactly what Schengen means.’

Somebody needs to tell the Swiss, then. Uncontrolled movement is not what occurs at any time on the A5 between Germany and Switzerland – uncomplicated, sure. Possibly nothing more than slowing down enough for the Swiss to see the ‘vignette’ on your windshield, and being politely diverted to buy one if you don’t have it. Along with the Swiss pulling over anyone they feel the need to (yes, I’ve been briefly halted, long enough for them to look at documents, a couple of times in the last decade).

Admittedly, the Swiss are also checking to make sure people are not evading Swiss rules concerning free trade with the EU, and how goods bought in the EU need to be declared (Short discussion here – – ‘Technically if you import anything bought outside Switzerland into Switzerland you are subject to import taxes.

In practical terms the Gardes Frontières (who also act as Customs Agents) usually do not ask tourists to pay import duty. We Swiss do… or should…’ )

73 jdm March 1, 2016 at 3:00 pm

Has the migrant situation in Europe changed your or Alex’s views about either the desirability or the feasibility of open borders? This is not a rhetorical question – I’m genuinely curious.

74 jb March 1, 2016 at 3:47 pm

If you are going to have open borders, there is a whole host of social services you have to be prepared to provide/not provide (examples of each include bilingual services yes, cash welfare benefits to people who randomly showed up no), and a whole set of conversations your entire society has to have about what makes a citizen of your country and how to treat long-term residents who are not current or future citizens.

The USA is doing about minimally well given its degree of open borders; the EU is a disaster on this front.

There are multiple levels of open borders that can work, with the appropriate associated governmental response. Any level of open borders can be a catastrophe with the wrong response.

75 anon March 1, 2016 at 3:49 pm

TC has written that he does not believe open borders would work.

76 Bob from Ohio March 1, 2016 at 3:21 pm

What is the effect on “sales of tulips, rose bushes and other plants” at Austrian stores?

77 8 March 1, 2016 at 4:28 pm

Gun sales are way up.

78 Engineer March 1, 2016 at 3:54 pm

The Euro “elite” put in an application for a Darwin Award for their societies. It appears not everyone in on board with this. The push back was and is entirely predictable.

Its still not clear, however, that “Europe” is going to survive this. My guess is they still get their Darwin Award.

79 AIG March 1, 2016 at 4:10 pm

Europe has borders. The problem is the EU has not been enforcing its borders at the point where EU countries meet non-EU countries. Hence the problem that they need to then stop them at each national border instead.

A disastrous policy, no doubt, but one which they seem to be waking up to finally with implementing more naval control in the Med and more border fences with the Balkan countries where all these “refugees” (economic migrants really, not refugees) cross.

Plus I suspect this is a ploy by Greece to place themselves in a more favorable spot in negotiating with the rest of EU, by allowing uncontrolled migrant flow from Turkey. Once they are in Greece, then the door is open for them to the rest of EU.

80 Johnny Pranke March 1, 2016 at 4:29 pm

What I find fascinating is the complete disconnect between most of the West’s media/politicians/public intellectuals and the ‘people on the ground’ who actually have to deal with immigrants and the consequences of an open borders policy. You even see it on this blog – Tabarrok and Cowen advocating an idealistic libertarian view of reality, while many of the commenters (yours truly included) have a…. different view on things.

For millenia, it was an obvious truth to any semi-rational ruler that you shouldn’t invite people from barbaric cultures to live in your homeland. Then the Frankfurt School happened, which precipitated a leftist takeover of the West’s universities climaxing in the cultural revolutions of the 1960s. Today we’re left with the ideological wreckage: a fuzzy, feel-good, delusional view of humanity that all groups of people are equal in every way and that with enough government spending and ‘cultural training’ they can be brought up to par. After all, if everyone is born equal, why not have open borders? I know a physics PhD candidate named Abdul who is just as good a student as another candidate I know named Adam – doesn’t this disprove those evil racists and their bell curves?

A reckoning will have to occur sooner or later as the West’s economies slow and demographic fissures become ever wider – Trump, Le Pen, Farage, etc. are just the first wave of what I predict will be an, ahem, interesting century.

81 Axa March 1, 2016 at 5:01 pm

The end of the political career of Senator Joseph McCarthy was not nice. Can Trump, Le Pen avoid that outcome?

82 Art Deco March 1, 2016 at 5:32 pm

Neither Trump nor Le Pen are likely to drink themselves to death at the age of 47.

That aside, McCarthy’s business was wild fusillades of fact and fiction, much of it about particular individuals. His last project was savaging the Secretary of the Army and subordinates thereto because some red haze Army dentist got a promotion. This was conjoined by threats and counterthreats between McCarthy’s office and people in the chain-of-command of one David Schine, who had been on the staff of McCarthy’s consigliere Roy Cohn. How is McCarthy;’s tacky entrprise the least bit analogous to contemporary controversies?

83 Steve Sailer March 1, 2016 at 5:56 pm

The Army-McCarthy hearings that brought down McCarthy in 1954 were a classic Big Gay Conservative Fiasco. The brains of McCarthy’s operation, lisping Roy Cohn, had a crush on a handsome, naive young staffer David Schine. When the Army drafted Schine, Cohn went ballistic and accused the Army of being full of Communists plotting to separate him from Schine. The Army’s wily lawyer Joseph Welch maneuvered McCarthy into saying the word “fairy” on national TV, so he could respond by implying that McCarthy was a homosexual. After that, it was all over for McCarthy.

Cohn, however, went on to be Donald Trump’s lawyer and die of AIDS. Schine went out to Hollywood, married Miss Sweden, had six kids, and was executive producer of “The French Connection.”

84 Art Deco March 1, 2016 at 6:48 pm

Homosexual men aren’t given to lisping. Their voice commonly has a sibilant component. Cohn was an exception, as you can hear here.

85 Steve Sailer March 1, 2016 at 7:10 pm

As Mel Brooks pointed out in many of his movies, gay men tend to suffer from a sibilant “lisssssssssssp” rather than a Daffy Duckish “lithp.” The hissing sound is a problem for gay choirs.

Note: this isn’t close to universal, it’s just a tendency. Also non-gays can have the problem too. Al Gore has a very slight lisssssp, which probably hurt him with voters in his debates with George W. Bush.

We don’t know what the causes of male homosexuality are, but if you could find out what causes lissssssping, you’d probably find out something about one of the causes of male gayness.

86 So Much For Subtlety March 1, 2016 at 7:25 pm

Actually in this week’s piece of junk science, Gay men may be slightly more likely to lisp:

87 Steve Sailer March 1, 2016 at 11:11 pm

Nah, this article is clueless: nobody thinks Daffy Duck sounds gay for lithping, which is what the study looked for. But Mel Brooks movies are full of Broadway chorus boys who lissssssp. (Mel Brooks has indeed worked with a few gay men in his life.)

Daffy Duck’s voice was modeled on the mogul Leon Schlesinger, who would advise his animators, “Put in loth of joketh, fellowth, joketh are funny!”

88 prior_test1 March 2, 2016 at 1:31 am

You aren’t even pretending in this comment thread anymore, are you?

89 Axa March 1, 2016 at 6:10 pm

You mean I’m supposed to stand on that?

Place Trump and Christie instead of McCarthyism and Gabrielson in that cartoon. That was the topic in MR a couple days ago.

90 Axa March 1, 2016 at 4:56 pm

Border controls is an important issue but it’s also good to assess the magnitude of the problem. It’s not the end of the world. The pessimism in previous should be re-assessed with these images for context:

91 albatross March 1, 2016 at 5:06 pm

Was the start of this crisis (massive inflow of refugees into Europe, many countries trying to push the refugees along to the next country to avoid bearing the costs) Merkel’s decision to invite large numbers of refugees into Germany? Followed by rhetorical pushback against countries in the EU that refused to go along? That’s what it looked like to me, based on press reports. Is there some deeper explanation I’m missing?

Is there some reason the EU couldn’t just refuse to accept the refugees? Or put border checks in place only at the borders with countries that are letting the refugees in?

92 Nathan W March 1, 2016 at 9:26 pm

The start of the crisis was the civil war in Syria, which revised estimates suggest have already resulted in 450,000 deaths, most of which civilian.

“Is there some reason the EU couldn’t just refuse to accept the refugees?”

International treaties. However, the EU has been more lenient than required by international law.

93 Horhe March 2, 2016 at 10:13 am

That’s bull. It may be argued for refugees in the Mediterranean (not Moroccans, Tunisians etc), but not for those streaming in through Greece. According to international law, refugees, by definition, must be granted sanctuary in the closest safe country where they will stay until it is safe for them to go back home. You might argue that Libya is unsafe and therefore people going through it can expect to go upwards some more (though I wouldn’t). With regards to Syria, those safe countries are Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, who deserve every cent the West can give them for the refugee camps. The refugees streaming through Turkey have become economic migrants cutting in an already extensive and troubling line. They are neither fleeing war, nor is their intention to go back home when the war ends. They are shopping around for the best place to settle in, and it is their right to be granted leave to settle in the best and most generous countries in the world for coming from a self-destructing society. Very anti-rawlsian. Nothing can go wrong. It’s not like the Third World follow third worlders around.

94 Nathan W March 2, 2016 at 11:23 am

“However, the EU has been more lenient than required by international law.”

Where’s the bull?

95 jim jones March 1, 2016 at 5:34 pm

We need to build a wall around Europe, the Arabs will pay for it.

96 Steve Sailer March 1, 2016 at 5:48 pm

Heckuva job, Merkely!

97 Steve Sailer Hater March 1, 2016 at 6:45 pm

Since you are a US American citizenist, why do you pretend to care?

In fact, why do you think you have the right to judge? Shut you smug face and stick to your own turf.

98 Steve Sailer March 1, 2016 at 7:12 pm

I need a higher quality of hater.

99 Steve Sailer Hater March 1, 2016 at 8:08 pm

No, you need to stick to your own US American business and stop concerning yourself with things that are not your concern.

German or EU politics is not your concern.

You can’t have it both ways, US citizenism and the right to judge EU politics. Mind your own goddamned business.

100 A Definite Beta Guy March 1, 2016 at 9:05 pm

It’s always fun to point and laugh at the backwards nations.

101 Steve Sailer Hater March 1, 2016 at 10:50 pm

Your next president will be a sociopathic clown. You will reach banana republic status in no time.

And yet I have not said one word of judgment since the Trump madness began, because I have the decency to accept it’s none of my business if you ruin your country.

But then again, people with Sailor’s psychological profile have always been notorious hypocrites.

102 Art Deco March 1, 2016 at 11:21 pm

Your next president will be a sociopathic clown.

Our current president is a cross between a local TV newscaster and James Baldwin. So far he’s given us the ISIS catastrophe in Iraq, a soon-to-be nuclear Iraq, weaponized federal tax collectors and weaponized federal prosecutors (not to mention serial exercises in effortless lying and stonewalling). Did I mention the rape of the Chrysler bondholders, or was that bit of abuse of power too long ago?

103 Cliff March 2, 2016 at 1:10 am

Sorry, when did Sailer say that Europeans are not allowed to have an opinion on U.S. politics? Or do you knot know the definition of “hypocrite”?

104 Nathan W March 2, 2016 at 4:53 am

Everyone has the business to judge anyone’s politics. It’s not like Sailer is sending million dollar cheques to tilt the political balance in the EU or anything. If you don’t like what he says, you don’t have to read it.

105 Horhe March 2, 2016 at 10:19 am

That’s an interesting line. I see myself as having the right to judge and comment (but not impose my views) on the politics of my fellow Europeans (including those in the US, Canada, Australia etc) because we are part of the same civilizational space and whatever weakens them weakens me, especially since their poor decisions have a historical habit of haunting their less powerful brethren in other countries. Not just decisions at the macro level, but political and cultural developments which run through the sewage pipe of modern culture straight into the TV, books, assumptions and values of people who want to imitate their success. I truly believe that the self-immolation of the West and of the things that made it great will be seen as a virtue to copy in my country before we have had time to realize the horror of what the West has done to itself. There’s plenty of self-deceit going around, like people pretending that South Africa is a peachy place now that the apartheid meanies are gone.

106 Nathan W March 2, 2016 at 11:25 am

What’s with the “the self-immolation of the West and of the things that made it great”?

Is this about helping people who flee war and seek to rebuild their lives in safety? Or are you talking about something else?

107 prior_test1 March 2, 2016 at 1:34 am

Well, at least they know the name of your personal brand of political philosophy – which is already doing better than most people commenting here.

108 Ex-Pralite Monk March 2, 2016 at 12:25 pm

Since you are a US American citizenist, why do you pretend to care?

Because Europe has a history of refusing to solve its own problems, then asking the US to solve them instead.

But when it came to committing to upholding Article 5—the alliance’s sacred cow, which requires NATO members to defend an ally if it is attacked—the results were devastating. The Pew poll showed that among Europeans, a median of 49 percent of respondents thought their country should not defend an ally, a response that exposes a lack of commitment to collective defense. Not only that: the majority of Europeans (67 percent), with the surprising exception of the Poles (49 percent), believed the United States would come to the defense of its allies.

109 Stephan March 1, 2016 at 5:53 pm

It’s not just open borders that is a failure, but the whole European Union which has created another bloated layer of bureaucrats and regulations . Let the Germans be German , the French French and the Greeks Greek. They are their own unique nation and are best at directing their own course . There was no need for a centralized Superstate directed by statists obsessed with regulations

110 Steve Sailer March 1, 2016 at 6:03 pm

Or let the European Union be for the good of Europeans.

The problem is that today that sounds racist.

111 Stephan March 1, 2016 at 6:23 pm

I don’t think it can be good for Europeans by construction. Europeans are not a homogeneous block with one culture. It started as political initiative to bring peace to Europe after two world wars . It’s not needed militarily, there is NATO. Every nation in Europe is free to create trade agreements they like. If such a union was advantageous, then The US and Canada who have more in common than the EU member states would have created a similar one.

112 Steve Sailer March 1, 2016 at 6:38 pm

“Europeans are not a homogeneous block with one culture.”

Western and Central Europeans have more in common with each other than they have with the Merkel Youth from Syria, Afghanistan, and Eritrea.

But European solidarity is a no-no these days because the ruling passion of the age is “anti-racism,” which, operationally, turns out to be anti-European racism.

113 Jan March 1, 2016 at 7:41 pm

Haha, the EU itself is fundamentally about solidarity. When you’re a hammer everything looks like a nail I guess.

114 Steve Sailer March 1, 2016 at 6:06 pm

The reason Europeans can’t have nice things like the Schengen Agreement anymore is because it’s considered racist to keep Europe for Europeans.

That’s the essential problem: the racial ideology of anti-Europeanism now trumps the pro-European ideology behind the creation of the European Union.

115 Steve Sailer March 1, 2016 at 6:11 pm

One justification for what became the European Union going back 60+ years was so that the German Chancellor doesn’t get to impose a New Order upon Europe by fiat anymore.

But we’ve gone so far thru the looking glass that when in 2015 the German Chancellor decided on a whim to remake Europe without the consent of the rest of Europe, it was celebrated (until Cologne) as a triumph of “European values.”

116 Bob March 1, 2016 at 9:29 pm

The analogy to a prior German Chancellor doesn’t make sense because, operationally, the New Order he would have imposed would have been good for Europe. I don’t see how you can dispute that.

117 Ricardo March 1, 2016 at 9:20 pm

This post is a bit dramatic. Border checks don’t signal “the collapse of Schengen” — they are allowed under the Schengen agreement in certain situations. If you drive on the interstate in Arizona, you might encounter a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint well within the territorial limits of the United States — that hardly signals the end of freedom of movement within the U.S.

Second, as for “dire” effects, let’s keep in mind that Tyler is a fan of Singapore yet it takes about an hour to cross the border between Singapore and Malaysia (both countries do passport checks at entry and exit). If Singapore can adjust to this inconvenience and still remain a wealthy, vibrant economy, European countries will adjust as well and be OK.

118 Steve Sailer March 1, 2016 at 11:14 pm

Checkpointless travel within Europe is a nice thing. But it only works if there’s a real border around Europe. But that would be racist, so Europeans can’t have nice things anymore.

119 Peter Akuleyev March 2, 2016 at 4:05 am

For the most part Europe still does have checkpointless travel, including travelling from Germany to Austria. The real issue is not the German-Austrian border, which is still more of an inconvenience than a real border, the real issue is the controls that Austria is imposing on its southern border, which is isolating Slovenia and Croatia from the EU. Maybe our new First Lady will have something to say about the Slovenian situation.

120 Steve Sailer March 2, 2016 at 5:24 am

The practical alternative to nationalism isn’t globalism, it’s continentalism. But that strikes moderns as even more racist than nationalism.

121 Nathan W March 2, 2016 at 10:06 am

It probably seems that way to you because of the nature of the white supremacist propaganda discussing continentalism, and the reactions to it. E.g., the “Africa for the Africans, Asia for the Asians…” sort of things, which, anyways, I find innocuous because it absolutely recognizes the rights of Africans and Asians to breathe.

122 Russell Newquist March 2, 2016 at 1:32 pm

the European Union could face up to 18 billion euros, or $19.6 billion, each year in lost business…

Is that all? With a number that small, there are quite a lot of people who will find that a reasonable price to pay for border security.

123 Floccina March 6, 2016 at 5:59 pm

And yet Hillary is the odds on favorite to be the next president.

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