Europe’s migrant crisis has prompted fears of the collapse of the passport-free Schengen area — and EU leaders may hope a real-life collapse in the village it is named after is not a bad omen.
Part of a suspended ceiling inside the European Museum in the tiny Luxembourg village of Schengen fell down on Tuesday as it closed for the day, leaving two visitors and an employee shocked but uninjured.
There was also significant damage to the exhibits in the museum, which traces the history of the village and the treaty that led to the abolition of EU border controls, which was signed there on June 14, 1985.
But the mayor of Schengen, Ben Homan, laughed off suggestions that there was any accidental symbolism in the unfortunate incident in the heart of Europe.
“It’s a sign — that we need to do some repairs,” Homan told AFP.
Roger Weber, the head of the association which runs the museum, said it could reopen in a fortnight.”
EU leaders have warned that the 26-country Schengen area is under threat from the migration crisis, with several countries reintroducing border controls in response to the huge influx of migrants arriving in Europe as they flee conflict in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
The EU has said it wants to restore full functioning with no border controls across the Schengen area — which includes 22 EU countries, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Lichtenstein — by the end of the year.
And local mayor Homan added his voice to others, saying that even if the museum’s ceiling collapse was not a “symbol”, the EU “must do everything to preserve the Schengen area.”