Venstre rejects car barriers at borders

Opposition divided over future of border controls

Ahead of the European Parliament elections, a new proposal to keep the national borders open has ignited a bitter fight between right-wing parties Venstre (V) and Dansk Folkeparti (DF).

V proposed today not to build new physical toll booths, thereby breaking a 2011 accord with EU-sceptical DF, which wants to strengthen border control to prevent cross-border criminals from entering the country. 

Intruding criminals
"Venstre's answer to fight cross-border crime is not a car barrier or new physical installations at the border," leading euro candidate Ulla Tørnæs (V) wrote on the party website, along with a photo of a red and white rustic car barrier.

She will instead spend 55 million kroner to help tax authority Skat improve its effort against the criminals. 

“We have decided to set aside 55 million kroner to improve customs efforts. We want to let Skat decide if the money should be invested in more officers or extra licence plate scanners,” Tørnæs told Politiken.  

DF wants more control
Peter Skaarup, a DF group leader, said that he still supported the original agreement and that increased border control will be a defining demand from the powerful support party if a V-led opposition ends up winning the 2015 General Election. 

"All this talk about car barriers is social democratic propaganda that makes you think of barriers on campsites. That's not what we mean," Skaarup told Politiken.

"We want physical installations where custom officers can step out and control certain cars if they find it necessary. Today, they stand in the middle of a motorway with cars hissing past them."

Plan discarded
When Denmark in 2011 announced new visible controls on main roads near the German border, the EU Commission warned it might be a breach on the Schengen Agreement. The plan was discarded before it became reality, when the current Socialdemokraterne-led government took office later that year.