Europe’s passport-free travel system in the Schengen area is about to collapse, according to Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner.
Mikl-Leitner told EU interior ministers that she thinks the temporary national border controls in the Schengen zone are likely to become permanent as a result of the migrant crisis currently engulfing Europe.
In a bid to curb the influx of asylum seekers, several EU states, including Germany and Austria, have introduced a border checking system due to expire in May.
According to Dutch Migration Minister Klaas Dijkhoff, EU governments are calling on the European Commission for authorization to extend the border controls past the May expiry date.
Such a move would deal a severe blow to the Schengen system’s main principle of free travel within Europe.
“These measures are inevitable at this point in time,” said Dijkhoff.
The EU is facing its worst refugee crisis since World War II with more than a million estimated to have entered the continent in 2015 while a record number is expected for this year.