Neighbours: move toward border controls a “scandal”

Germany and Sweden concerned over steps to implement stricter border controls

May 12th, 2011 10:01 am| by admin

The Liberal-Conservative government yesterday came closer to making a deal with the Danish People’s Party (DF) to increase border controls around the country in exchange for DF’s support for its 2020 budget reforms.

In reaction, Swedish and German politicians objected that it was a “scandal” that the government was ready to chip away at the Schengen Agreement in order to win the DF’s support for its welfare reform.

Under the EuropeÂ’s common border agreement, people are allowed travel within the so-called Schengen area without passport checks at national borders.

Denmark joined the Schengen Agreement in 2001, but the Liberal-Conservative government, under pressure from the DF, is now moving to create more stringent border controls, effectively rolling back border conditions to a pre-2001 state.

“It’s a scandal that we in Europe are beginning to lock down our borders,” said the German Social Democratic MP Ulrike Rodust.

The news that Denmark was ready to tighten its borders was also met with dismay by Swedish politicians.

“I really hope Denmark will not do it,” Swedish Liberal MP Olle Schmidt told Politiken newspaper. “It goes against everything that the EU and the Nordic cooperation stand for.”

The Danish initiative to tighten control of its borders came at the same time as the European Parliament was debating whether or not to change the Schengen Agreement to allowing countries to strengthen border controls.

Italy and France have proposed a return to passport checks – in defiance of the Schengen Agreement – in reaction to the influx of refugees from politically unstable North African countries.

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