High Fences Make Bad Neighbors in Europe

Good fences make good neighbors, so the poet Robert Frost wrote. Sadly, the European Union seems to be taking Frost's poetic whimsy as a serious policy prescription.

For how is the EU preparing to welcome the citizens of the ten countries that will become members in May? Simple: by shutting the door in their faces, and then building regulatory walls to keep them away from the door in the first place.

Indeed, the Union is behaving even worse. Because no agreement exists at the EU level concerning a common set of rules to be applied to the Union's new citizens, each member country is establishing its own rules without any coordination.

Some of these emerging rules are draconian. Austria and Germany - so far the two largest recipients of migrants from Eastern Europe, receiving four out of every five - announced last year that they will restrict migration from the new member states for the full transition period of seven years. France and Belgium will restrict immigration by new EU citizens for at least the first two-years of the transition period.