Photo via Phil Richards
A train in Hungary, via Phil Richards

The ongoing refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe is big news. I’d recommend reading up on what’s happening, but in a nutshell people are fleeing war and persecution, particularly in Syria, and ending up in Europe. One of the best-known incidents in this crisis involved more than 1,000 people setting out to march from a train station in Budapest to Vienna, Austria.

The issues that arise from this crisis are legion, but one aspect that is beginning to take shape is the threat to the idea of a borderless Europe. This is from my BuzzFeed News colleague Francis Whittaker:

As a result, the borderless Schengen Area — where internal borders between 26 participating EU nations are replaced with one unifying external frontier — has been temporarily compromised at numerous points over the last few days as governments have opted to close off routes in from neighboring countries.

That post goes into detail on the various locations where border controls have been reintroduced. I’d recommend clicking over, but in a word, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary have all taken measures to secure their borders in response to the refugee crisis.

This is a big deal, and a testament to the seriousness of the ongoing refugee crisis. The Schengen Area has played a huge role in shaping modern Europe and, for some of us, it’s the only way we’ve ever experienced the continent. For the time being this probably won’t have a huge impact, beyond possibly some added inconvenience, on travelers visiting Europe. But it is important to be aware of and sensitive to the crises, political challenges, and human suffering going on in places that are famous as travel destinations.

— Jim Dalrymple II


Written by Jim Dalrymple II

Urbanism and travel writer. Also a journalist covering the news.

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