The Schengen area has never been tested to the same level as it is now. The unprecedented volume of refugees arriving in Europe has left its leaders struggling to cope. Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, issued a sober warning that the crisis puts Schengen into question, while Italy says it is ready to impose border controls and Hungary has sealed off its main train station.
The Schengen Agreement is one of Europe’s most remarkable achievements. Implemented in 1995, it allows free movement of people between member countries – effectively removing border controls. It means that visas, rights of asylum and checks at borders outside the Schengen area apply across member states. Now, some are keen to argue, it is under threat.