The multi-billion-euro price-tag of shutting down the EU’s open borders

La Stampa reports (translation by Worldcrunch): Thirty years ago, the European Union’s passport-free Schengen zone came into being. At the time, the International Monetary Fund estimated that the abolition of border controls on the continent would add 1 to 3% to the area’s GDP growth. In the most conservative estimate the pact has brought an additional 28 billion euros in economic growth; the sum could realistically be as high as 50 billion.

This is the scale of the kinds of economic benefits that would be lost if more countries were to re-impose border control, thus ending the three decades of free movement in Europe. And even a partial collapse of the zone could harbor significant costs for all.

In this tense and tumultuous time for the European Union as a whole, Schengen is in real danger of disappearing. Buckling under the pressure of the wave of migrants fleeing war and seeking better lives, six nations have “temporarily” reintroduced border controls with other EU members. While allowed for under exceptional circumstances by the agreement, this is the first time in two decades that such a closure has occurred. In the absence of Europe-wide solutions decided at minister-level meetings, more countries could follow suit to protect their security. [Continue reading…]

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