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Denmark introduces border controls to Germany

Published måndag 4 januari 2016 kl 12.58
"We purely react to a decision made in Sweden"
(3:00 min)
Denmark's prime minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen at a previsous press conference. Photo: Wiktor Nummelin/TT
Denmark's prime minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen at a previsous press conference. Photo: Wiktor Nummelin/TT

Denmark is introducing temporary border controls at its border with Germany from noon on Monday, as a result of the Swedish measures to demand a valid photo ID on everybody wanting to travel from Denmark to Sweden.

Sweden's Justice and Migration Minister Morgan Johansson welcomed the Danish announcement, adding that it should have come earlier.

"A large part of our problems has arisen because Denmark served as a transit country for refugees, in violation of the Schengen rules," Johansson told news agency TT.

At a press conference in Copenhagen, the Danish prime minister Lars Lökke Rasmussen told reporters that their decision comes as a direct reaction to the new Swedish ID-checks.

"We expect that the new Swedish measures could cause serious disruption of the traffic flows from Denmark to Sweden and we have to respond to that in a very balanced way. So what we are doing today is not implementing one-to-one the Swedish solution at the Danish-German border. We are introducing temporary border controls, but in a balanced way, where the police will control buses and trains, but still leave room for ordinary people to cross the borders," said Lökke Rasmussen.

When asked if he thought the decision would contribute to a crisis further down the line in other European countries or beyond, Lökke Rasmussen replied:

"I think it is pretty obvious that we are in a situation that if the European Union can't protect the external borders you will see more and more countries, which will be forced into introducing temporary internal border control. This is something we need to take very seriously, because it will have a negative impact on prosperity. I am a true believer of freedom of movement. This is not a happy moment at all. We have invested billions in infrastructure between Sweden and Denmark, we have invested millions in international branding of the Greater Copenhagen region so this is a step backwards, but I need to be pragmatic and I must respond to what is going on on this day in the Copenhagen area. We tried to do it in a very balanced way, so that trade and ordinary people can still cross the borders so the impact on the ordinary lives is as small as possible."

The Danish border controls will be carried out by police and will be random checks, not the type of ID-checks that Sweden is now demanding of bus, train and ferry operators taking people to Sweden. The measures are to be in place for ten days to begin with, but may be extended.

When asked if this would be simply another nail in Schengen's coffin, the prime minister said:

"Hopefully not. What we need now is European leaders who should respond to this. I mean; we have been pushing and pushing for a European solution and what we need now is to take decisions about introducing the hotspots in reality. So this is a clear signal that Europe now needs to take decisions which can protect the external borders. If we don't do this, it will of course have a potential negative impact on the freedom of movement on Europe, and in the long-run on European prosperity and growth," said Lars Lökke Rasmussen.

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