News in Digest: Return of the border town

Governmental control of our movement has returned, and not just of humans

It seems a long time since the EU won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012 “for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe”.

The Schengen Agreement of 1985 played a major role and then four years later ‘The Wall’ came down, as borders across the continent were erased to the point that crossing them became as routine as changing lanes on the motorway.

But the border is back – and not just for humans as calls for controls on wild boar and wolves crossing into Denmark are ever-going!

In a blink of the eye, the continent is operating at a security level not seen since the Cold War.

Sweden’s closed house
Sweden has confirmed it intends to extend its controls on the Danish border by another six months. Currently in place until May 11, the controls on trains and ferries coming into Sweden from Denmark, and on ferries arriving from Germany, intercept between 150 and 200 people every week.

The Danes have already said they intend to extend their own controls from May 12. In total, six Schengen countries have controls they want to keep in light of a cited terror threat.

The undesirables
One of Denmark’s most serious terror threats in recent times originated in Sweden, and the four men found guilty of planning a terror attack against Jyllands-Posten in 2009 could soon be out of prison.

Jailed in Sweden for 12 years in 2012 after being tried in Denmark, the three Swedes and a Tunisian will reportedly be able to apply for parole in December as they will have served two-thirds of their sentence – six years plus the two before their trial.

Denmark won’t want to see them again, and the same is true of the 84 people from Denmark who since 2012 have travelled to Syria or Iraq to join militant jihadist groups whilst continuing to receive social benefits – mostly kontanthjælp (44 percent) or the SU education grant (43).

Of the 150 Danish foreign fighters, over a third have already returned, a fifth are still in conflict zones, a quarter are believed to have been killed, and the rest are in other countries.

Unwelcome animals
And it’s not just humans. Fear of African swine fever has prompted the government to team up with Dansk Folkeparti to build a 70 km-long, 1.5 metre-high fence at the German border to keep out roaming wild boar.

Infected wild boar have been found in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the Czech Republic. An African swine fever outbreak would endanger exports worth 30 billion kroner annually – 19 to the EU and 11 outside.

Meanwhile Ulvefrit Danmark, a new organisation dedicated to eradicating wolves, held its inaugural meeting last week in Ørnhøj in northwestern Jutland.

It followed claims by DF politician Søren Espersen that the wolves received help from special interest groups in moving over to Denmark in 2012 and took place a day after a man was arrested for shooting a wolf dead near Ulfborg in Jutland.

Busy at the border
In a busy month for border activity, a court in Hillerød has ruled that a 50-year-old Danish citizen should be extradited to Rwanda where he is accused of participating in the 1994 genocide.

Danish MP Lars Aslan Rasmussen was kicked out of Bahrain after being detained at its main airport after revealing he intended to visit the jailed Danish citizen and political activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja.

Two months after he visited Denmark to take part in a debate event at the University of Copenhagen, the Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont was arrested at the Danish-German border by the German authorities. He was on his way to Belgium after visiting Finland.

And finally, ambassadors from Poland, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Romania have urged their countrymen to return home to seek jobs and opportunities. Since 2011, the number of eastern European workers in Denmark has more than doubled from 32,000 to 76,000.