Schengen important to the Visegrad countries
Free movement is a priority for the four Visegrad countries, says the Czech foreign minister Lubomír Zaorálek (social democrat) in an article in the Social Europe web magazine. He calls for solidarity and support for frontline states, “especially Greece”.
“From the perspective of Visegrad societies, which lived for decades behind closed borders and barbed wire fences, upholding the Schengen principle of free movement – one of the most vivid achievements of EU integration – remains a priority. It requires respect for common rules, but also greater solidarity and support for frontline states, especially Greece”, he says.
At the moment, the European crisis has led to a situation, where “Divisions and dichotomies thought to be long overcome – such as between “liberal West” and “illiberal East” – are re-emerging… to the point of second-guessing the historic significance of the 2004 enlargement”, the Czech foreign minister says.
Populism and skepticism has different roots in different parts of Europe, he says, and in Central Europe “the legacy of communist rule casts a long shadow”. But, he continues, “so do the mistakes of the transition period, with its overreliance on technocratic modes of change, often at the expense of social cohesion, inclusive development and democratic accountability.
It has left too many of our citizens on the losing side of economic transformation, alienated from what they perceive as a closed system shot through with corruption”.
Read the full article here.