As it was the case for the sovereign debt crisis and the European Monetary Union, what we are facing today with the migrant and refugees crisis is the consequence of the failure to complete the European construction: shared internal borders make no sense without shared external borders. Migration issues and, more in general, border issues have to be considered as European – and not national – issues. It is time to release the brake of national sovereignty.
Framing a common policy on asylum, immigration and external border control is the right answer. To this aim, the establishment of a European Border and Coast Guard operating on the basis of full cooperation between the national and the European level, as proposed by the European Commission, is a first and urgent step in this direction. It would prove that the European Union is able to protect its external borders, by achieving the exercise of shared sovereignty to monitor borders which are already shared. At the same time, a smoother exchange of data and information among the national authorities as well as a stronger European cooperation with third countries like North African countries and a serious political commitment for a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis are some of the most crucial steps to take.
The creation of an internal area where persons and goods can circulate freely is one of the major achievements of the European integration: putting such a result at risk means putting the entire European project at risk. Proving that EU Member States are able to overcome together such an unprecedented crisis by regaining control over the external borders and restoring a common area without controls at internal borders, is of paramount importance for the future of the European Union. This is a challenge with a long-term and decisive impact on the future of Europe.