Liam Fox is secretary of state for Defence, UK
The Guardian Newspaper, an Opinion
Two hundred and forty years ago, Adam Smith published one of the most important texts ever written. The Wealth of Nations set out his vision of free trade as a pathway to opportunity and prosperity for all; and that in a true open global economy no one need lose out – we all could benefit.
Globalization needs to be championed more vigorously
Yesterday I was in Manchester speaking about why I believe his principles are as much alive and relevant today as they were in the 18th century – despite vastly different trading environments.
We stand on the verge of an unprecedented ability to liberate global trade for the benefit of our whole planet with technological advances, such as the internet and e-commerce, dissolving the barriers of time and distance. And because of the brave and historic decision of the British people to leave the European Union, I believe the UK is in a prime position to become a world leader in free trade.
Globalization represents an acceleration of the trend in which the world has become increasingly compressed, economically, culturally and politically. However, it is becoming increasingly misunderstood and its benefits not championed vigorously enough. While the increased economic activity that globalization has generated has been broadly welcomed by business, politicians have often worried about how the dissolving concepts of sovereignty will affect their ability to influence events, and many have worried about the effects on the world’s most vulnerable people.
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Mr. George Friedman is the CEO and Chief Intelligence Officer of Statfor, a private intelligence company located in Austin, Texas.
- Rising immigration and fragile economic recovery in Europe will reduce political support for the Schengen Agreement, which eliminates border controls among member states.
- The Schengen Agreement will likely be reformed to make room for countries to tighten their border controls more frequently.
- Friction between Schengen members and other countries will remain, as will tension within the bloc itself.
When France, West Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg signed the Schengen Agreement in 1985, they envisioned a system in which people and goods could move from one country to another without barriers. This vision was largely realized: Since its implementation in 1995, the Schengen Agreement eliminated border controls between its signatories and created a common visa policy for 26 countries.
The treaty was a key step in the creation of a federal Europe. By eliminating border controls, member states gave up a basic element of national sovereignty. The agreement also required a significant degree of trust among its signatories, because it put the responsibility for checking foreigners’ identities and baggage on the country of first entry into the Schengen area. Once people have entered a Schengen country, they can move freely across most of Europe without facing any additional controls.
The Schengen Agreement was implemented in the 1990s, when the end of the Cold War and the prospect of permanent economic prosperity led EU members to give up national sovereignty in many sensitive areas. The creation of the eurozone is probably the most representative agreement of the period. But several things have changed in Europe since then, and member states are beginning to question many of the decisions that were made during the preceding years of optimism.