Not all the home affairs ministers from the EU's member states made it to last Thursday's council of home affairs ministers (25 October). In October (and April and June), Council meetings are in Luxembourg, but on Thursday morning Luxembourg airport was closed because of dense fog.
Cecilia Malmström, the European commissioner for home affairs, who had the advantage of being able to travel to Luxembourg by car from Brussels, put out on the social networking site Twitter a message expressing her hope “for full visibility in the room”. Her hope was not realised. The meeting included a review of applications from Romania and Bulgaria to join the Schengen area of border-free travel, and discussions of the abuse of asylum procedures by travellers from the western Balkans, who for the past three years have been able to visit the EU's Schengen area without visas. Hans-Peter Friedrich, Germany's interior minister, was among those wanting to complain, but he was also among those prevented by the fog from attending, as was Manuel Valls, France's interior minister. The two countries sent instead their permanent representatives to the EU.
Some ten kilometres down the road, the village of Schengen, which generously gave its name to the border-free travel area, was also, appropriately enough, under thick fog.