Monday, November 20, 2006

Why is it so difficult even for EU passport holders to enter the UK?


It’s incredibly easy to get from France to Switzerland; you hardly even have to slow down driving past the border posts. It’s even easier to get from France to Spain, Italy or any of the fourteen other countries that are part of the Schengen agreement.

Yet entering Britain from France can consume lodsa time. Is there any evidence that the ‘jobsworth’ style checks at our ports and airports do any good? Given that the carriers will already have checked all the passengers’ passports is it really essential that someone British repeats the process? Couldn’t these people be better (and, for them, more interestingly) employed on other border control tasks?

All the pre-2004 members of the EU except Britain and Ireland are members of the Schengen agreement which gives people freedom of movement once they’re inside the area. Iceland and Norway have also signed up. Switzerland isn’t a member but still seems to survive despite border controls that allow thousands of people to pass freely each day.

Is it something to do with being an Island nation or another example of our not quite whole-hearted approach to Europe? Perhaps we just like creating employment opportunities for petty bureaucrats! The photograph shows me with one foot (probably) in France and the other (possibly) in Spain. Note the French footpath signs to my left and the Spanish ones to my right. I’m pictured astride the GR10 atop the Pyrenees and there isn’t a uniformed official to be seen...

3 Comments:

At 08:15, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact is France might send over a army to take the UK by force, knowing we have nobody to protect us with guns, they are all in Iraq, we all know France is out to claim the UK.
hence Blair's idea about Trident.

 
At 15:31, Blogger snowflake5 said...

Switzerland decided in a referendum a couple of years ago to join Schengen (their govt seems to be intent on joining the EIU proper by small degrees).

 
At 19:25, Blogger Hughes Views said...

Thanks for that Snowflake, I don't get many comments these days - can't think why! Even back in 1987 I remember being amazed at how easy it was to get from Switzerland to France by road, I was worrying because my passport was in the 'hold' but the coach I was on didn't even slow down...

 

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