“It briefed well.” Sarcastic military aphorism after a plan fails
As a growing number of countries close their borders to fight the coronavirus pandemic, the European system of open internal borders — a cornerstone of European integration — is on the brink of collapse.
The so-called Schengen Area, which comprises 26 European countries, entered into effect in 1995 and abolishes the need for passports and other types of control at mutual borders. It is a key practical and symbolic achievement of European integration and is now falling apart.
In a move packed with political significance, Germany, the largest and most powerful country in the European Union, on March 16 introduced controls on its borders with Austria, Denmark, France, Luxembourg and Switzerland after it registered 1,000 new cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in just one day.