The lifting of the iron curtain, which had divided the European Continent for more than half a century, gave us the chance to reunite Europe in freedom, security and justice, and to enlarge the European Union.2
It was a long way from the Treaties of Rome in 1957, with a European Community of only 6 Member States, to the recent “Lisbon Treaty”3, with a European Union of 27 Member States. The Lisbon Treaty was a further step in deepening the European Union. And this will not be the end of this process of integration of States and Nations, which is without example in human history.
The Lisbon Treaty has migration policy defined as a competence of the European Union shared with the Member States. The policy of the European Union in this area is based on three pillars:
- The promotion of legal migration,
- The fight against illegal migration and
- The link between migration and development.
The Union pursues these objectives on the firm basis of full respect of human rights.
We should not forget that the European Union and its Member States more than 50 years ago was a pioneer of for instance the social security of migrant workers:
In 1958, the European Council issued two regulations on social security of migrant workers which were subsequently superseded by regulations4. Nationals from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are also covered via the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement.
What does the “Schengen Border Regime” mean? It simply means to abolish internal border controls and to intensify border checks at the external borders of the Schengen area.
Since a couple of years you can travel by car from Helsinki to Lisbon without any passport controls and you can leave Frankfurt Airport to Athens by plane without border controls and just an identity check by the airline. Border controls by State authorities just take place if you leave or enter the “Schengen Area”.
1Artikel in “Voices of Mexico”, Heft 93, 2012.
2The precondition for this historical operation was to make the European Union fit for opening its doors for 12 new Member States. “Fit” in this context means,
- To facilitate and accelerate the decision-making-process in the Community and in the Union,
- To make clear, which competences have to be located on European level and which competences have to be dealt with by the Member States and
- To improve the democratic legitimacy of the various bodies of the Community and of the Union.
3 Which came into force December 2009.
4 Regulation 1408/71, supplemented by implementing Regulation 574/72.