Danes want tighter borders

Poll show majority in favor of more permanent and physical controls

According to a poll by Epinion for DR Nyheder, 61 percent of the population completely or partially think Denmark should introduce manned border crossings.

Dansk Folkeparti is pleased with the survey, which polled 1,002 people. Its spokesperson, Peter Skaarup, told DR that manned border crossings would be ”high on its list” if there is a change in power in the upcoming elections.

A new bill
The justice minister, Mette Frederiksen, recently proposed a bill for more automated controls at Danish airports and borders.

Among other things, the bill would propose the use of the automated recognition of vehicle licence plates when they cross into Denmark.

”There is nothing that suggests we catch more criminals with police standing somewhere,” Socialdemokraterne spokesperson Tine Bramsen told DR.

READ MORE: New passport scanners coming to Copenhagen airport

Smarter border
Venstre is taking a middle ground approach, saying there is a need for more and better border control, but something permanent is not necessary.

”It can never be completely permanent,” Karsten Lauritzen, the party's spokesperson, told DR. ”The EU rules say that it should not be, but it can be significantly more permanent than today.”

Lauritzen says Venstre will spend 75 million kroner on more ”smart borders”, which would include a mix of the aforementioned licence plate scanners as well as more police and customs officers.

Bending the rules
Whatever the case, for Denmark to institute something more permanent would be difficult due to Schengen regulations, according to Rebecca Adler-Nissen, an EU researcher at the University of Copenhagen.

”You cannot introduce systematic, permanent borders, but you can easily imagine stronger surveillance,” she told DR. ”The Schengen rules are very clear. You must be able to move freely across borders and must not prevent transport and trade from flowing freely between countries.”

However, she does point out that the issue of border controls is becoming a ”giant focus” in Europe right now and it may be a ”wave” on which Denmark can ride.