EC: Denmark's Stronger Schengen Border Controls Not Justified

Politics » BULGARIA IN EU | July 18, 2011, Monday // 18:51
Bulgaria: EC: Denmark's Stronger Schengen Border Controls Not Justified A Danish custom officer border controls at the Danish-German border in Padborg, Denmark, 05 July 2011. EPA/BGNES

A probe of the European Commission has not found sufficient grounds to justify Denmark's recently boosted controls along its borders with Germany and Sweden, which are intra-Schengen Area borders.

EC experts visited Denmark as part of the dialogue with the Danish authorities on the implementation of measures aimed at reinforcing internal controls at the Danish borders, the Commission said in a statement Monday as EU Interior Ministers met in Poland to discuss the border-free Schengen zone.

The EC experts have had meetings with the relevant Danish authorities in Copenhagen and visited the Danish-German and Danish-Swedish borders.

The experts have reported that they were unable to get sufficient justifications from the Danish side for the intensification of the controls at the internal borders. In particular, according to the experts, the risk assessment required to justify the controls was not sufficient and there were no clear instructions to border control officers on how to carry out controls.

There also does not seem to be a structured reporting mechanism about the numbers of controls and the results of the intensified border checks, the Commission explains.

Dermanks has insisted that the reintroduction of customs controls are aimed at curbing cross-border crime, and they will not violate the agreement governing the border-free Schengen zone.

Germany has criticized the proposals, and the European Commission has warned that they could clash with the free cross-border travel stipulated by Schengen.

''Unfortunately, the mission did not enable us to get adequate answers to our questions. There are persistent concerns about the compatibility of Denmark's strengthened internal control measures with the freedoms provided under the EU Treaty including the Schengen acquis," EU Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom declared.

In her words, it is incumbent on Denmark to demonstrate factually that the gravity of the situation justifies putting in place controls which might affect the exercise of free movement of goods, services and persons at the internal borders with Germany and Sweden.

"We have already sent a letter to the Danish authorities to get further clarifications. The result of the mission makes it even more necessary to establish a reinforced dialogue with the Danish authorities and to put in place a strict monitoring system based on regular information from the Danish authorities, not excluding further visits if necessary," she elaborated while also issuing a warning for Dermark's government, "The Commission will not hesitate to use all tools at its disposal to guarantee free movement of goods, services and persons and the full respect of EU legislation."

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Tags: European Union, ministers of interior and justice, Brussels, Schengen, agreement, Denmark, European Commission, EC, Schengen Area, Schengen Agreement, border control, customs, customs agents, Cecilia Malmstrom, EU Commisioner
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