Huddled Masses, Please Stay Away

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Huddled Masses, Please Stay Away

Magazine article

By: Anonymous

Date: June 22, 2002

Source: The Economist

About the Author: The Economist is an internationally focused political and economic publication based in Britain.


The movement toward a united Europe began after World War II and culminated in the creation of the European Union. Following the destruction of Europe that occurred during World War II, six countries came together with the goal to create a common market in steel and coal. The member states—Belgium, Federated Republic of Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands—sought to create economic cooperation between European neighbors in an effort to develop and sustain peace in the region. As a result, in 1951 the Treaty of Paris set up the European Coal and Steel Community. Shortly thereafter, the member states created a common market dealing with certain goods and services. In 1957, under the Treaties of Rome, the European Economic Community (EEC) was set up, and by 1968 customs duties between the member states were removed. Among the members, common policies on trade and agriculture were also developed in the 1960s. The success of this cooperation led to the first enlargement of the union to include Denmark, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. With the increased membership, leaders within the union sought to create a monetary union. By 1986, the membership had increased again with the addition of Greece, Spain, and Portugal. Following that expansion, additional programs were established to decrease the economic development gap between the member states. As the countries of Europe moved toward a unified economy, the EEC began to represent the member states as a unified front in the international community.

The Single European Act was signed in February 1986 and laid out the goal of completing a single European market by January 1, 1993. In December 1991, the members of the European Council, member states' presidents and prime ministers, adopted the Treaty on European Union. This treaty facilitated the name change of the EEC to become the European Union (EU) and set forth the goals of monetary union by 1999, European citizenship, and common policies regarding security. As the additional countries of Austria, Finland, and Sweden joined the EU, the organization moved toward its goals. In 2002, the member states replaced their individual currency with the euro (with some exceptions: the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Sweden are EU members who are not part of the monetary union and did not convert their currency to the euro). In 2004, the EU welcomed ten additional countries, many of which were former Soviet bloc countries. With the new states, EU membership rose to twenty-five nations. Among these states, the single currency and market has created a free flow of goods, services, capital, and people.

The free flow of people among EU member states, regardless of national origin, began in 1993 with the creation of the Schengen zone. In June 1985, seven EU states met in Schengen, Luxembourg, and signed a treaty to end the internal borders, checkpoints, and controls between signatories. As a result, the Schengen visa was created, allowing its holder to travel freely within much of the EU.

Since the creation of the Schengen visa, relatively large numbers of immigrants have entered the EU. Policies regarding the handling of refugees were addressed at the Dublin convention in 1997. The Dublin agreement affirmed cooperation with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees and sought to determine the status of refugees. The agreement was intended to clarify which Schengen member country was responsible for the refugee, to avoid passing the refugee between member states. Although the Dublin convention superseded previous bi-lateral agreements among individual EU states, it failed to be implemented within the EU. As a result, the refugee issue was revisited in 2003 with the Dublin II regulation.


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The summit in Seville, Spain, continued the dialogue between EU member states regarding the handling of immigrants. Those attending the conference called for stricter border controls and better coordination of visa policies and information on illegal immigrants. However, implementation of the policy became an area of contention. British prime minister Tony Blair proposed that development aid be used as a tool toward nations that do not work against human trafficking. French president Jacques Chirac, however, rejected this plan, saying that sanctions could create a deeper economic problem in the developing nations, thereby increasing migration.

The five major powers in the EU—France, Britain, Italy, Spain, and Germany—met in Evian, France, in June 2005 to continue the dialogue regarding the issues of immigration. This meeting focused on immigrants from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Members at the meeting sought consensus within the EU regarding greater security. One proposal included expanding the practice of fingerprinting visa applicants to make it easier to locate those who are carrying an expired visa. As the EU continues to seek a single policy, individual countries continue to create their own policies toward immigration control. In Spain, the Integrated External Vigilance System was unveiled in 2002. The $140 million surveillance system operates along the coastline closest to Morocco and is fitted with night-vision cameras and radar sensors.



Hannan, Daniel. "Bring Back Borders." The Spectator (June 29, 2002).

Wright, Tom. "Europeans Tackle Illegal Immigration." International Herald Tribune (July 6, 2005).

Web sites "Immigration Tops EU Summit Agenda." June 20, 2002. 〈〉 (accessed June 15, 2006).

Human Rights Watch. "The Right to Asylum in the European Union." 〈〉 (accessed June 15, 2006).

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Huddled Masses, Please Stay Away

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