EU crumbling: Von der Leyen’s superstate dream threatened by member states rebellion

How the Schengen area was created

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Tory MP David Jones welcomed the findings of new Facts4EU research highlighting more than 300 breaches in the last 15 years, saying it was good news of anyone who cared about the concept of national sovereignty. The former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib similarly welcomed the news, suggesting the bid to abolish the bloc’s internal borders had been “deeply damaging”.

In total, 22 of the EU27 are members of the Schengen Area, within which all passport and other border controls have been abolished, with four of the remaining five – Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania – obliged to sign up as soon as the EU permits them to. Only Ireland has an opt-out, thanks to action taken by the UK in 1997.

In addition, non-members Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland are included within the area as a result of being in the European Free Trade Area.

The pro-Brexit think tank’s report, published yesterday, highlighted no less than 312 “notifications of the temporary reintroduction of border control at internal borders”, as the European Commission puts it, since 2006.

Since May 1 this year alone, there have been ten breaches, three linked to Covid, the rest the result of concerns including terrorism, large illegal immigration and organised crime.

David Jones, deputy chairman of the European Research Group (ERG) and the MP for Clwyd West, told Express.co.uk: “This excellent piece of analysis highlights what many of us have known for a long time: the EU is a rules-based organisation only when it suits it.

“In a sense, however, this is encouraging news.”

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For anyone who believes in Europe of independent nations, this must be a good thing

David Jones MP

The Schengen area had been established as part of a bid to create a “superstate” – in other words, a single country known as Europe, Mr Jones explained.

He added: “Now we see individual member states seeking to recover at least part of their lost sovereignty by taking back control of their own borders, even if only temporarily.

“For anyone who believes in Europe of independent nations, this must be a good thing.”

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Mr Habib, a fierce critic of the bloc’s creeping centralisation, was likewise pleased by Facts4EU’s findings.

He told Express.co.uk: “If the Schengen zone is truly broken we should all rejoice in Europe.

“It was designed to weaken member state sovereignty.

“In practice, it has made all member states vulnerable to crime and terrorism.

He added: “Borders were developed in Europe over centuries for good reason.

“They define our nations and act as a brake on the uncontrolled inflow of undesirables.

“Doing away with them is typically EU and like most of its political policies, deeply damaging.”

David Campbell Bannerman, who was an MEP from 2009 to 2019, and who served as UKIP’s deputy leader from 2006 to 2010, told Express.co.uk: “The Schengen Zone has always had opt-outs – what they call safeguards – right from the start.

“But now the opt-outs outweigh those following the rules.

“Quite simply the whole notion of free movement across the EU is breaking down – another setback for the superstate project which it was designed to assist.”

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