Europe Calling

5. Security and Schengen‘s open borders: a picture of increasing threat with matching drive for reform

February 15, 2022

In early 2022 Europeans woke to three potentially dire security threats to them and their way of life: more conflict in insecurity in Ukraine, increasing hybrid warfare and cyber attacks, and the possibility of new arrivals of refugees and migrants following the military withdrawal in Afghanistan and the resumption of power by the Taliban.

These threats may have their origin hundreds or thousands of kilometres away. But their impact may be felt far closer to home. Reform of Schengen and management of the EU’s external borders takes on a fresh urgency. 

The fifth episode the European Commission’s podcast Europe Calling series tackles these and wider security issues with Vice-President Margaritis Schinas, responsible for Promoting the European Way of Life. Internal and external border management are very much part of his brief.

Speaking with first-hand experience as a Greek national, Vice-President Schinas addresses what he calls a “desperately” needed agreement among the 27 Member States on burden-sharing arrangements for refugees and migrants. 

The podcast also features an interview with an Afghan illegal migrant, now a photographer legally resident in Belgium. What were his experiences on the perilous journey from Pakistan to Europe with the help of people smugglers?

And there’s an interview with a leading security expert from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) on how the threats to Europe’s security have evolved significantly in recent years. “We are facing a totally different type of threat…with attacks that do not need major financing structures and are perpetrated by lone wolves,” she says.