Europe's borderless Schengen area: key facts

Europe’s borderless Schengen area, which started taking shape 20 years ago, is under new pressure with Germany’s reintroduction of temporary border controls to tackle a record influx of refugees. Under the Schengen rules, a member state like Germany may “exceptionally” reinstate controls at its borders with fellow members like Austria “if there is a serious threat to public policy or internal security,” but usually for no more than 30 days. In such an event, the European Commission, or the executive of the 28-nation European Union, the European Parliament and other Schengen countries must be informed.

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