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Europe’s Open Borders Under Pressure46:40
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Will Europe’s open borders close again? Big question marks over the future of the EU.

Refugees walk towards the border with Serbia, from the transit center for refugees near northern Macedonian village of Tabanovce, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
Refugees walk towards the border with Serbia, from the transit center for refugees near northern Macedonian village of Tabanovce, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

Open borders were one of the proudest accomplishments of the European Union. The Shengen Zone, they call it. Old borders crossed with no one saying, “Papers please.” Now Europe’s open borders are closing, under pressure from the last year’s massive influx of refugees. And with them, fears rising that the European dream itself is vanishing. The march of history, turned around. Redirected. This hour On Point, Europe’s borders, closing. Europe’s future, in doubt.
-- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Ryan Heath, senior EU correspondent and associate editor for POLITICO Europe, where he also writes the Brussels Playbook column. (@PoliticoRyan)

Tom Nuttall, Charlemagne columnist for The Economist. (@tom_nuttall)

Vivien Schmidt, professor of European integration and founding director of the Center for the Study of Europe at Boston University. Author of the forthcoming book, "Europe's Crisis of Legitimacy." (@vivienaschmidt)

From Tom’s Reading List

POLITICO Europe: EU pushes ‘worst-case scenario’ to stem migrant crisis — "The future of the Schengen zone of passport-free travel is in serious doubt, as EU countries Monday prepared for the worst and sought permission to extend internal border controls for up to two years. After a meeting of EU interior ministers in Amsterdam, Klaas Dijkhoff, the migration minister of the Netherlands, said they 'invited the [European] Commission to prepare the legal and practical basis for the continuance of temporary border measures.'"

NPR News: Passport-Free Travel Under Threat In Europe — "One of Europe's proudest achievements is the Schengen Zone. Travel between its 26 member nations is passport and visa free. But a surge of migrants in Europe has lead six countries to impose temporary border controls. And in Amsterdam yesterday, the European Union decided to consider extending those controls for at least two years."

The Economist: An ill wind -- "What if nothing works? Despite the pressure Mrs Merkel is unlikely to shut Germany’s borders, because she wants to preserve the EU’s passport-free Schengen zone. But other plans are being drawn up inside the chancellery, including a sealing of the Greece-Macedonia border across which most refugees travel to reach Germany. Once refugees see that Greece has become a dead end, says one German official, they will think twice about setting sail from Turkey. Other routes will no doubt emerge, perhaps across the Black Sea. But the plan might at least buy time."

This program aired on January 27, 2016.

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