21:23 GMT +318 January 2020
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    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel is considering establishing a mini-Schengen borderless zone after several countries reintroduced border controls and others criticized the poor security of Europe's external borders.

    The future of the Schengen zone has been thrown into doubt because of the refugee crisis. The original intention was to create a zone within Europe, consisting of 26 countries that have abolished passport and border controls.

    ​However, the massive flight of refugees from war-torn countries — including Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya and many more — has exposed a major flaw in the system: the outer perimeter of the area is extremely poorly patrolled.

    Hundreds of thousands of refugees have traveled by sea and by land into Greece and Italy — both of which are struggling to cope with the numbers — as well as via the West Balkan route into eastern Europe.

    ​Merkel — who famously declared her country's doors open to refugees from Syria, precipitating the biggest mass movement of people since World War Two — has refused, so far, to set a cap on the number of refugees entering her country and called for a quota system, so the all countries in the EU would be forced to take in a certain number of refugees arriving in Europe.


    However, many — including most Eastern European states — have shunned the plan. Meanwhile, Germany and other EU states have called for the Schengen external border to be strengthened. Greece was threatened with being thrown out of the Schengen zone unless it could secure its borders amid the current refugee crisis.

    German media reported this week that Merkel is said to have told her coalition counterpart, Bavarian Governor Horst Seehofer, that closing the borders could be the "Ultima Ratio" — the method of last resort — to stop the inflow of refugees.

    It follows similar calls from the Dutch government which had floated the idea of a "mini-Schengen area" which would include Austria, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, a report in Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf said.

    The creation of a mini-Schengen would — in effect — bring an end to the great European dream — much vaunted by Merkel — of a union where the free movement of people and trade was paramount.

    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)


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    open border, free movement, refugee crisis, Schengen area, EU integration, humanitarian crisis, unity, migrants, European Union, Angela Merkel, Europe
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