Open Borders in Europe

Tuesday, 24 July 2012 00:00

Written by Simon  
All of the physical barriers between the countries of Europe have been taken down.  This includes countries that are not part of the European Union like Switzerland.  What wonderful news for those of us who don't want an armed border with Mexico. 
It can be done.

I had read reports and friends who had traveled in Europe in recent years had told me that the border checks had stopped but at a visceral level I hadn't understood or accepted what a big change this is. A few anecdotes will illustrate and then a very optimist conclusion.
We took the train from Switzerland into Germany and we have no idea where the border was.  We could have crossed while we were on the train or it could have been while we were walking in the station.  We know that when we got off the train in Constance we were in Germany.  No papers to fill out, no passport check, no lines, no fee and no men in uniform. Amazing.
One day we drove our rented car from Vienna, Austria to Prague, The Czech Republic.  We drove via a mountain pass and we knew we were crossing into The Czech Republic because there were some empty building where the border used to be.  Oh and by the way our GPS said in very proper English: "Welcome to The Czech Republic"  No papers to fill out, no passport check, no lines, no fee and no men in uniform. Amazing.

 

The Berlin Wall one of the defining icons of the Cold War is gone.  It has been replaced by art and kitsch that celebrate it's passing.
The wall memorial at Pottsdamerplatz

A re-creation of Checkpoint Charley
My conclusion is pretty simple.  If the Europeans who have been fighting each other in wars of empire and nationalism for hundreds of years can find a way to live in peace and harmony.  Then we can do the same with Mexico and Canada.  It is time.