The current migrant crisis is putting the decades-old Schengen Agreement to the test. Originally signed in 1985 in Schengen, Luxembourg, this agreement created borderless travel for European Union citizens within the EU. Twenty-six countries are currently part of the Schengen area.
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France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands were the original signatories of the 1985 Schengen Agreement, which went into effect in 1995. By then, Spain and Portugal also joined. By 2002, Italy, Austria, Greece, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, and Finland joined. In 2007, nine more countries became part of the Schengen area, including Hungary. Two more were added in 2008. The United Kingdom is not part of this internal border policy.
Schengen has been called into question in this crisis due to its impact on asylum policy. Other EU laws say that asylum seekers must register and be processed for asylum in the first country they enter. Through the open borders established by Schengen, even non-EU citizens are able to easily travel between various EU countries, so refugees who plan to seek asylum in Germany are entering through Hungary with no intention of seeking asylum there. Hungarian officials are still legally supposed to register them in Hungary and this is leading to a lot of confusion and contention.
Read more about the Schengen Agreement:
Newsweek: Five Things You Need to Know About the Schengen Agreement
RT: Schengen zone to be 'on agenda' if EU doesn't fairly distribute refugees - Merkel
The New York Times: Explaining the Rules for Migrants: Borders and Asylum