comment 26 Nov 15

Anti-Schengen Clamour Holds Dangers for Balkans

Growing calls to scrap a border-free Europe - in the wake of the Paris attacks – are a real threat to stability in the Western Balkans.

Marcus Tanner
BIRN
London

Much more than other terrorist attacks, such as the 2005 bombings in London and the January attacks in Paris on Charlie Hebdo magazine, the November 13 attacks in the French capital are set to change not only the discourse but the rules in Europe.

The German-Swedish policy of placing no limit on the number of Syrian refugees is one likely casualty - Sweden is already rowing back on its earlier generosity.

Another possible casualty - of greater importance to Western Balkan countries - are the Schengen arrangements.

Twenty years old in practice this year, or 30 if dated back to the signing of the agreement, Schengen probably offers more tangible, visible benefits to ordinary people in the Balkans than any other aspect of the entire European integration project.

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