Swiss participation in protecting EU’s external borders

National Council marks the red line

mw. On Thursday, 21 September 2017, the National Council as first council adopted the EU-Regulation 2016/1624 “on the European Border and Coast Guard” by 102 to 75 votes and 10 abstentions, however, it issued a caveat. This EU-regulation is part of the “further development of the Schengen acquis”, which, according to the agreement Switzerland has to adopt if it wishes to remain in Schengen. It were “a necessary step towards improving the situation on the Schengen external border,” according to the narrow majority of the National Council’s Security Policy Committee (SPC-N).1
In reality, the so-called Schengen area is one of the many Brussels’ blessings that cannot work because they are self-contradictory: “The basic idea is to facilitate travelling within the ‘Schengen area’ with its approximately 500 million inhabitants without reduction of security” as mentioned in a FDFA brochure.2 For the European nation states, Schengen means a fundamental ban on identity checks on its borders with the neighbouring states, if they are also part of Schengen. Instead the external borders should be protected with combined forces – a true Sisyphus work! In any case, the idea of ​​a Europe without borders soon fell through the harsh objection of reality.
As a matter of fact, “Schengen” is concerned solely with accelerating a centralist unitary state. For if a state effectively protects the Schengen external borders and thereby keeps its own borders under its own control, just as the Hungarian government has dared to do, then it is the end of all noble theories!
Only the EU lobby in Berne knows, why Switzerland has to be absolutely with Schengen. This lobby has pressurised us voters for years that we would become European outsiders without Schengen like some former Soviet republics and that we would have to be in the same queue at the airports with their nationals. So what?
The National Council now wants to stop the steady increase of Swiss financial contributions. Firstly, the Federal Decree is designed to ensure that Switzerland is involved in the cost of the new European border and coastal guards at a maximum of 12 million francs per year.3 For in 2015, Switzerland paid 4.6 million euros only for the “European Agency for Border and Coastal Guards Frontex”, in 2016 already 9.9 million – thus more than twice as much! – in 2017, an estimated 12.4 million, and in 2020 it should be 14.2 million.4 There are also contributions to Schengen/Dublin, the overall sum of which the Federal Council does not make transparent in its message to Parliament. As a second condition, the National Council wants to stipulate that the planned involvement of the Swiss border guards at the Schengen external borders should not lead to a poorer surveillance of the Swiss borders.
The National Council is right! Thereby he calls on the Federal Council, on the one hand, not to swallow everything, which the Brussels bureaucracy dopes out, but, on the other hand, first to take its responsibility for protecting the Swiss national borders. – It is to be hoped that the Council of States will at least confirm this red line in the winter session.     •

1    To strengthen the European Border and Coast Guard. 17.033 Media release SPC-N from 29 August 2017
2    Federal Departement of Foreign Affairs. Integration Office FDFA/EAER. Schengen/Dublin – kurz erklärt. 2nd edition 2011, p. 4
3    Federal decision on the approval and implementation of the exchange of notes between Switzerland and the European Union for the adoption of the EU Regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard (17.033). Minutes of the National Council from 21 September 2017
4    Embassy of the Federal Council on 17.033, from 17 May 2017. Bundesblatt 2017, p. 41821