MYTH: "SENIOR Lib Dem advisers are calling for a party debate on whether Britain should surrender its border controls to Brüssels, effectively allowing anyone in the EU to enter the UK without passport checks. At present Britain is the only country of the 26 European member states which remains outside the so-called Schengen area, which allows Citizens to pass between countries without border checks."
Daily Express February 24th 2013
1. Bulgaria and Romania aren't in the Schengen zone, nor is the Republic of Ireland. Switzerland isn't in the EU, but has joined the Schengen zone.
2. The EU has 27 Member States not 26.
3. Schengen puts border control responsibilities in the hands of any Member State with external borders, not "Brussels". This is checked and monitored and the costs are shared for services like Frontex that police the borders, so the claim it is "surrendered to Brussels" is total nonsense.
4. There are no proposals from the Lib Dems for the UK to join the Schengen zone, though we do believe all EU governments need to police their borders with non EU states properly.
Lib Dems have discussed the problems being outside of the Schengen zone, the costs of multiple border checks and administrative burdens, as well as the continued need for a series of complicated bilateral agreements with other EU member states to regulate how UK nationals enter and leave the country. What is clear is that the UK policies for regulating and coping with temporary and permanent migration aren't keeping up with current developments.
For example we count people entering the UK, but not those leaving, so most figures we have about total net migration are very rough estimates. This makes it difficult to make the right policy decisions with regard to migration.
Lib Dems want sensible cooperation with our neighbours, and work constructively in the EU to make sure the UK gets the best deal. Instead of shouting from the sidelines, we ask the right questions about the UK's relationship with the rest of the EU, we're critical when things don't work, and constructive on how they can be improved to better meet the needs of British citizens. By contrast, UKIP don't care how many jobs would be lost if we left the biggest trading bloc in the world, many Conservatives who know that the EU is vital for millions of British jobs are afraid to say so in public for fear of losing votes to UKIP, while Labour appear to have no policy on the matter at all.