While traveling in Europe recently, I noticed something. Or to be more precise, didn’t notice something. No, another try. I happened to notice something that was not there. Where I had expected it to be. On closer inspection, I found that the something was there. It was the someone who was missing.
The outwardly unsmiling face of the inwardly unhappy person who would normally have waved me forward after waiting patiently in line and proceeded to look at my face and passport with great suspicion. This would have been sometimes accompanied by an equally suspicious question such as “Why are you entering our country?”. Or something equally incisive. On other occasions I would be greeted by a gesturing hand that waved me through as if I was an annoying fly. This person was gone! Missing! Gone! Where was Passport Control?
The small row of resplendent receptacles with their little holes in their glass screens remained, but suffering from a ghostly emptiness. New access corridors were created to bypass these now almost archaeological relics. As usual, I had my passport at the ready, and my identity card as well, but there was no one who wanted to even glance at my expensive and treasured biometric identification.
So, what had happened? It didn’t take me long to discover that it was called Schengen. A treaty between all European counties.The new reality of Europe with what is so aptly called freedom of movement.
Now this does sound like a good idea at first. Not all of the European Union’s ideas have been so. But this one seems like a winner. Freedom to move from one free country to another in Europe. But after a little reflection, I tried to calculate how many outwardly unsmiling an inwardly unhappy qualified people may have been affected by this great idea. A quick calculation of the number of countries and airports in Europe, and one would has at a guess of maybe at least one thousand people having lost their jobs.
What is patently obvious from this move is that the countries of Europe have more than enough information on each and every one of us, well before we disembark on their territory. More than ever since 2001, we are tracked in more ways than we could possible imagine. Cunningly effective data tracking, financial tracking, medical tracking, email tracking, credit card and banking tracking and just plain track tracking as well I suppose. So the poor outwardly unsmiling and inwardly unhappy qualified people who were not trained for these new high tech tracking jobs, are now out of work. Forever. Or at least until the return of a heavily bordered Europe.
The only joy in this story is that these poor souls who have lost their jobs are extremely well qualified for long term unemployment. They have the prime qualities required for seriously bad futures. They are outwardly unsmiling and inwardly unhappy people already. The rest of us have to perfect this specialised personality. After losing our jobs.