Friday 29 May 2009

Question Time: The EU & international terrorism

I don't normally watch QT, but Nigel was on yesterday so I gave it a whirl. Towards the end, either Caroline Lucas (of the Green Party) or Caroline Flint (of the Labour Party) was saying that one of the reasons the UK needed to be in the EU was because it somehow helped in the fight against international terrorism.


At the risk of generalising, as I don't have time or inclination to research all this down in infinite detail...

Let's look at places in Western Europe that aren't in the EU; that's the Isle of Man, Channel Islands, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland. Hotbeds of international terrorism? Nope. Austria joined the EU as recently as 1995, was it the epicentre of international terrorism before that? Nope.

Now, think about the countries where most terrorists live. The UK is probably top of the list due to its open-door immigration policies for people from Somalia and Pakistan, for example (and due to France waving them all through Sangatte), but Germany and Spain (and maybe The Netherlands) rank fairly high as well. If a terrorist with an EU passport rocks up at the border of another EU country, they more or less have to let him in (unless it's a dangerous lunatic like Geert Wilders, of course).

From the point of view of all the other countries, they'd probably be safer from terrorism if the UK left, to be honest, as then they'd be able to turn back people they didn't like the look of, even if they were waving a British passport.


Stan said...

Indeed. The obvious point being that "international terrorism" as such barely existed before the EU existed. Terrorism was, largely, confined to within national borders (with a few obvious exceptions). Once terrorists had managed to establish themselves as "citizens" within an EU nation it was then quite easy to export it around the world.

Anonymous said...

The UK has the biggest CIA anti-terror operation in the world. The UK IS the western world's terrorism hot spot. If you want to see what other countries think about the UK, experience what I experienced in Germany. Waiting for a flight to London, a fragrant German women in her 30s looking very stylish walked among the seats and smiled at all the men waiting. Naive, we thought she was being flirty. Then she went to the gate, and was joined by two police with machine guns. And then we got the third degree. Cause it was a flight of Brits.

TDK said...

It strikes me this is a variant of "the EU is responsible for postwar European peace" (particularly before 1960). It only works at the naive level.

My favourite is the Lib Dems argument that only by being in the EU can we fight global warming. God forbid we negotiate with countries who don't share a common political structure.