The consequences of Schengen’s collapse: populist shortsightedness and the future of European security

Research Paper by Geneviève Zingg



The Syrian refugee crisis has sparked anti-immigrant anxiety across the European Union. Right-wing populist parties have capitalized on widespread fears, utilizing nationalist rhetoric and racial tropes to connect Arab-Islamo immigrants with jihadi terrorism, political extremism, economic degradation and ideas of cultural invasion. Citing security concerns, populist parties have called for the abolishment of open borders in the European Union. This paper examines populist claims linking border control with European security and explores the potential socioeconomic impact of eliminating the Schengen Agreement. Ultimately this paper argues that the populist calls to abolish Schengen are based on false claims and that abolishing Europe’s open borders policy would severely jeopardize the future of European security by exacerbating sociocultural tensions between native Europeans and new immigrants. This paper seeks to examine ‘soft’ approaches to European security grounded in social policy in order to strengthen immigrant integration, offset radicalization processes and safeguard the Schengen Agreement.