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Denmark to reintroduce border controls

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(COPENHAGEN) - Denmark will reintroduce controls at its intra-EU borders with Germany and Sweden, Finance Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen said Wednesday following an agreement between the government and the far-right.

"We have reached agreement on reintroducing customs inspections at Denmark's borders as soon as possible," Hjort Frederiksen told reporters.

The new controls will enter into force within two to three weeks, he said.

Because Denmark is a member of Europe's visa-free Schengen area, it cannot reinstate full frontier controls, and will still follow European Union rules with its current plan to station customs officers permanently at borders to conduct random checks on vehicles.

"Everything will take place within the limits of Schengen," the minister said.

"Over the past few years we have seen an increase in trans-border crime, and this is designed to curb the problem. We will be building new facilities at the Danish-German border, with new electronic equipment and number-plate identifiers," he told a news conference.

The minister added Denmark wanted Danish customs officers to be permanently present at the Oeresund Bridge that links Denmark and Sweden.

The idea of controls at borders within the EU, also defended by Italy and France, was pressed by the far-right Danish People's Party and its head Pia Kjaersgaard, who argued controls would counter illegal immigration and organised crime.

Denmark's decision comes a day ahead of a key meeting in Brussels on Thursday at which EU interior ministers are to debate proposals for restoring temporary border controls within the visa-free zone.

The European Commission proposed last week to introduce a mechanism that would allow states to temporarily reinstate checkpoints during sudden surges in migration or if an EU country fails to control its frontier with non-EU nations.

Denmark thus went ahead with tighter border controls before a possible EU decision on the matter.

"I worked very hard for this," Kjaersgaard said.

Her Danish People's Party has been a key ally of the centre-right government since 2001 and has thanks to its central role obtained major victories in the fields of security and immigration and has contributed to making Denmark's immigration policies among the most restrictive in Europe.

Wednesday's agreement could pass because a Christian Democrat member of parliament also supported the deal, allowing it be backed by a majority of MPs.

The measure, announced ahead of legislative elections to take place in November at the latest, is to cost 150 million kroner (20.1 million euros) to set up and 120 million kroner a year.

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Posted by John Smith at 11 May 2011, 21:13 CET
Looks like the EU experiment is unraveling. Unless they become a united states of Europe, the system will collapse under its own weight.

The EU was ill conceived and impossible to administer with out a common federal government. This is the beginning of the end.


Posted by otto brosz at 12 May 2011, 01:57 CET
It is not as draconian as it may seem. Even here in the USA, cars driven west from Arizona must stop at an inspection station at the California border.


Posted by Stoyan Antonov at 13 May 2011, 19:28 CET
I think Denmark's decision is good for EUROPE, because it sets higher standard of security on the border, and that is how the whole EU borders should look like. The African and Arab and Turkish migration to EU brings people with very different cultural-historical background. EU needs to cut sharply taxes and fasten the belts if we want to create more jobs and stay competitive against Chinese flood of cheap goods. Many especially in the richer West part of EU still dislike the internal migration from East EU, and what about culturally very different migrants from Africa and Turkey and Middle East