The Schengen Agreement and Crisis in Europe



What is the Schengen Agreement? Essentially, the Schengen Agreement is a treaty signed that led to the creation of Europe’s borderless area, where one can travel freely in between countries. It was signed on June 14, 1985, by five of the 10 member states of the then European Economic Community near the town of Schengen, Luxembourg.

What is the problem exactly? Currently, there are millions of immigrants flooding into Europe who have been forced to leave their homes and flee from the expanding ISIS group in the Middle East and Africa. This sudden influx of immigrants has brought instability to Europe, both in terms of the balance of culture and economic stability and bringing up the most controversial issue of immigration again in the U.S. and abroad.

Since the Paris attacks last November, France has been in a state of emergency, shutting down its borders and stopping movement that the Schengen Agreement made. It has now made a move to suspend the Schengen Agreement. Whether or not this would be permanent, no one really knows, but until the threat of ISIS is dealt with, (France) feels it is its responsibility to protect its people.

The discussion on suspending the Schengen Agreement among European Union member states is caused by the flood of migrants and refugees into Europe without supervision. If there was a way to be secure in allowing immigrants to come in and maintain a cultural balance, they would not be in this situation. Knowing who is coming in and out of a country is key for security, especially in times of war and terrorism, such as the current situation. If all EU states had made an effort to filter the immigrants and control the influx from the beginning, they would not find themselves in the current situation.

I wonder what the solution could be. It seems to find a solution one should assume the situation to be past saving in terms of suspending the Schengen Agreement, therefore, taking very affirmative action that would subsequently guarantee success. This assumption would be, perhaps, that the flood of immigrants is overwhelming and the stability of Europe is, thus, in jeopardy as well as being in the threat of ISIS. I argue that one could justify a “state of emergency” as France has as being a normal response when under such a threat, but go even further in terms of stabilization.

We ask the question how can countries accomplish this without committing violations on human rights? I again say that under such a threat, a different kind of war, countries have the duty to their citizens to act as such. What might be an appropriate response? I do not think putting refugees in camps is appropriate as human rights violations will almost be guaranteed and cause paranoid discrimination, but when there are people flooding our borders and one does not know who is dangerous and who is kind, one must do something to preserve safety and cultural balance.

This brings up my next proposal, which I believe is our best option. If Europe does not want the immigrants in their countries, they must provide a place for them to live that is safe. The solution is to retake the Middle East and have a lasting presence to keep the area stabilized for many years to come.

This would accomplish three necessary goals: provide a home for the refugees, preserve the culture of Europe, and destroy ISIS. No doubt this would be costly with both lives and capital, but do we have any other options that will accomplish all of these goals and especially promote stability in our world? I argue we that we do not and we must take action if we are to survive both culturally and physically the threat that ISIS poses.

From a Catholic perspective, I believe we must take back the Middle East and Africa. During the Crusades, the Muslims were running rampant and threatening Europe. Without the Crusades, Europe would be a Muslim culture now, but since the Christians were forced to take action, we have had a Christian Europe for much longer than what might have been.

Jesus is not against the sword, as he tells his disciples in the garden, “He that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip; and he that hath not, let him sell his coat and buy a sword” (Luke 22:36), but rather he is against living by the sword, “Those who live by the sword will die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52).

Part of being men is standing up for those who cannot stand for themselves. Being women is to care for the innocent. We must do both and take necessary action as Catholics to fulfill the duty we have to our brothers and sisters in Christ.