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More Than Just Europe: An End to Schengen Deals Blow to Integration Ideal

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If the reintroduction of border controls by several EU countries leads to the collapse of Schengen there will be implications beyond Europe, Bimal Ghosh, fellow at the Global Migration Centre, told Sputnik.

The Schengen system of free movement has been an example to other regions beyond Europe and an end to it would destroy Europe and the single market, leading to higher unemployment, Bimal Ghosh, fellow at the Global Migration Centre and senior consultant to the United Nations and International Organization for Migration told Radio Sputnik.

​"If this crisis is not properly addressed, it will constitute a major setback of so many things that Europe has been trying to develop over the years, so it is a real concern not just for the Europeans but even for those who are outside," Ghosh said.

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The expert quoted European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who warned on January 15 that "without Schengen, without the free movement of workers, without freedom of European citizens to travel, the euro makes no sense."

"Who kills Schengen will eventually put the internal market to the grave," and its end would lead to "an unemployment problem which will not be manageable anymore."

"When all this breaks down, the economic price, the loss of growth and the damage for the European growth perspectives will be enormous," Juncker said.

Ghosh told Sputnik that free movement is integral to the EU economy and has lowered average unemployment in the EU by six percent. 

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In addition, the European system of free movement has served as an example to other regions like Africa and Latin America, where countries are trying to increase economic cooperation.

"Any kind of breakdown of the Schengen system of free internal movement would be a great loss for Europe but it would also have very wide implications for many countries outside of the European Union, so it is a major challenge."

Ghosh is optimistic that the EU will overcome its current difficulties, and said they are due in part to a lack of foresight and lack of unity. 

He added the continuing tension within the union about European integration has been apparent throughout its history.

"I hope very much that wisdom will prevail. European history is full of crises, but also full of many achievements," Ghosh said. 

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