The right to free movement across the continent and to move across the Schengen area without border controls are two of the foundations of European citizenship. They are amongst the most popular European achievements and the most widely recognised. We refuse that these rights should be put in question by some of the most influential politicians in Europe and by the national governments.
The unilateral decision of Denmark to reintroduce controls at the border has brought the idea of a unified Europe respecting fundamental rights to a low which matches the expulsions of the Roma from France and Italy last summer. The attempt to put the Schengen agreeement in question by Italy and France is an example of populist scaremongering being allowed to threaten the European construction.
It is not acceptable that the rights to freely circulate within the Schengen area are jeopardized by the incapacity of participating states to have a common foreign, security and social policy, and not acceptable that as a consequence the xenophobic tendencies of the far-right are winning ground and winning influence, finding in the weakest members of our societies a scapegoat for their incapacity.
The Arab spring must not turn into the summer the European dream died. The European reaction to the historic events in the North African countries has been one of building new barriers and closing its frontiers, and now denying freedoms to its own citizens. Instead, Europe should be setting an example of solidarity and cooperation between peoples in the interests of peace, democracy and liberty.
The ideal of a free, united and outward-looking Europe must not be allowed to sink any lower. We call on citizens, civil society and politicians from throughout the continent to ensure Europe relaunches the process of political union and does not carelessly slip back to being a divided and tragic continent.