By Eddy Montilla.
The United States is the second most visited country in the world, and despite of that, no matter how many tourists are in line, you will not step beyond the airport until your fingerprints are photo are taken, you will not leave the area without being asked your destination, purpose of trip, how long you will stay, etc. Thanks to this tedious, but important work, Americans have better control of their territory (especially after the September 11 attacks) and can prevent new ones or at least to catch those who perpetrate such attacks.
The same story cannot be told in Europe where tourists can move there as if they owned the place, as a result of the Schengen Convention (1990) with its policy of common visa and no internal border control among the 26 countries that are signatories of the Convention. With the Schengen Agreement, Europe gained in money and time since it eliminates bureaucratic procedures, but it lost in terms of security because this flexibility permits terrorists to pass through a door as wide as Europe itself.
If a permission to enter a country in Europe leads automatically to free access to the rest of the UE, then a mere human error when the visa is granted or a bribe is enough to give terrorists the possibility to attack in almost all Europe. How can a visa stamp give such amount of freedom of movement in a vast territory as Europe?
Terrorism has eclipsed all international problems that once occupied our attention. In times of terrorism, doubt (despite being pitiful and irritating) becomes one of our best friends. The system created by Schengen Agreement does not help to combat terrorism. On the contrary, its excessive flexibility to go from one country to another is dangerous at the current time. It needs to be reformed if we do not want to see more terrorist attacks like France’s.
This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion with Eddy Montilla.
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