German Chancellor Angela Merkel said a failure of the 28 European Union member states to agree on quotas for sharing out refugees may endanger the bloc’s passport-free travel zone.
“If there’s no success in reaching a fair division of refugees in Europe, then Schengen will be put into question by some,” Merkel told reporters on Monday at a press conference in Berlin. Europe’s Schengen Agreement creates a borderless travel area comprising most EU and some non-EU countries.
Merkel repeated that Germany expects to take in about 800,000 refugees this year who are fleeing the war in Syria and other conflicts as well as economic turmoil in Africa and the Balkans. She said about half of these will probably qualify for asylum status and be allowed to stay. Germany is due to take in more refugees this year than any other EU state.