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Danes deploy increased border controls

The Local/AFP · 6 Jul 2011, 06:36

Published: 06 Jul 2011 06:36 GMT+02:00

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The European Commission said it would closely monitor the deployment to ensure it did not violate the European Union's open border rules.

The move followed parliamentary approval last week despite concerns voiced

by Brussels and Berlin.

"Fifty extra officers have already been deployed at certain borders and

will be carrying out random checks," Customs spokesman Finn Serup told AFP.

He stressed though that "they will not be stopping all vehicles. That is

not the idea. We are talking about random checks."

The Danish government has defended the move, saying random border checks

are in line with the Schengen passport-free travel area and that the aim is to combat the smuggling of illegal goods and drugs, not control travellers.

"The commission will strictly monitor the implementation of this first phase to ensure that European law is fully respected," Michele Cercone, the home affairs spokesman for the European Union's executive arm, told a news briefing in Brussels.

Thirty customs officers had been sent to the Danish-German border at Froeslev, 10 to the Oresund Bridge that links Denmark to Sweden and 10 to the Gedser ferry terminal which services Rostock in Germany, Serup said.

The latter would later be sent to the Rödby ferry terminal which services

Puttgarden in Germany, he added.

A Danish parliamentary committee last week approved the centre-right government's controversial plan, pushed through by its far-right ally, despite misgivings from its EU partners, who warned it could undermine the 26-nation

Schengen border-free area.

The European Commission has opened a probe into whether the measure violates the Schengen agreement, which allows people to travel without checks from country to country within the European Union, dates from 1985.

In May, Swedish minister of finance, Anders Borg, said that he saw no immediate concerns with Denmark's decision to increase border controls between the two countries.

“It is good that Denmark wants to take precautions to ensure we have no drug smuggling, cross-border criminal activity, human trafficking or similar carried out between Demark and Sweden,” said Borg to news agency TT at the time.

However, he welcomed the move by the EU to look into the matter to make sure it is not violating any previous agreements.

“The EU-commission will look into this and ascertain that it doesn’t go against laws on free movement across borders or the positive integration we have in the Öresund-region, “ Borg said to TT.

Story continues below…

Borg said that he thought the free movement between Denmark and Sweden is crucial to the region.

“It should be easy to travel over the Öresund-bridge. It should be easy to live and work in Denmark and Sweden,” Borg said in May.

The Swedish border controls in the area are working well and are not too much of a hindrance to commuters, according to Borg.

In June, the Danish foreign minister Lene Espersen claimed that the widespread criticism of the Danes new move was " based on an misunderstanding".

"Much of the criticism is based on a misunderstanding of what the agreement is all about," Espersen told reporters in Stockholm in June.

"It is important to stress that this deal is about customs control of transport of goods like weapons and drugs, and that the deal is not about controlling people's identities or passports or an old-fashioned border control," she insisted.

Espersen explained that the plan was due to "concern among the Danish population over cross-border crime ... not least drugs and weapons."

"The Danish government is intent on carrying out this agreement in line with the Schengen rules and in line with the EU treaty," she said at the time.

The Local/AFP (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

07:45 July 6, 2011 by Paulus Pietersma
Lets help the Danes with their problems. Everywhere in Europe Border Police and Customs should stop and check cars with Danish license plates and the people in it.

Lets help the Danes making their country a safer place!
08:37 July 6, 2011 by Iraniboy
Well said Paulus!
08:45 July 6, 2011 by useronthenet
Denmark like the rest of the EEC (European Union) countries should have the right to protect it's borders. Personally I think many other countries will follow Denmark's example. The fact remains, the European Union has changed so significantly it cannot be recognised as the same entity we all signed for in the initial stage. With many euro-countries plunging into debt and dragging everybody else with it, will this mean the beggining of the end of the EEC in it's present form? I say that the money pot will run dry and the EEC will be dismantled. It was a nice idea, but too many non-contributing countries joined in. The party is now surely over and we must get back to basics.
08:51 July 6, 2011 by Brtahan
Random checks , 99 precent it will be any one with dark skin and hair.
09:05 July 6, 2011 by Learner2011
@ Brtahan

I guess I totally agree with what you said.

But this time I am pretty sure that the they are looking after the father who has impregnated the Danish girl Karen... The one who made Denmark is a place to get women and they will bring up your baby :)

Youtube watch?v=GiKRA-syT5M
09:20 July 6, 2011 by byke
About 5 years ago I was stopped and questioned at malmo train station, after exiting the train that I had come from Denmark. This wasn't just myself who was stopped but many people where questioned by what appeared to be customs officers.

Furthermore, passport control has been active in Denmark on the train between Denmark and Germany for many years. So even if it has claimed open Borders in the past, reality is there have always been customs officers.
09:20 July 6, 2011 by Peter79
@ Brtahan,

IF statistics show that people with certain characteristics or behavior are more likely to commit the crimes they are looking for? Why not ?

If I cross a boarder I am more likely to be checked based on my background as well.. (tho I am dark blond and white).. but when people see NL on my passport they make assumptions as well. I don't have any issues with that.
09:34 July 6, 2011 by RobinHood
Denmark is clearly uncomfortable with the deteriorating situation just across the water to their capital city. Honestly! Who can blame them?
09:40 July 6, 2011 by comentatir

That is bulls***! This mindset results in people to stare at me or step away when i am walking on the sideways. But why not right? Since "statistics" say people who look like me tend to be murderers and rapers. ~_^
10:19 July 6, 2011 by comentatir

You are like telling a bed time story: "the Europeans were living peacefully and happily until "they" came!" Very same Europeans were slaying each other about 50 years ago. So if there is a problem you can not all blame it on the one who "enrich" you.
10:27 July 6, 2011 by eddie123
a very confused country by all accounts.
10:36 July 6, 2011 by cowboykodp

I agree with you.

I think they should stop all your Mexican relatives. In case you have not heard about how ALL Mexicans are murderers, and drug dealers.

Isn't that what the Danes say they want to stop?

It doesn't fell so nice when you are the target, does it?

On a side not: Denmark's economy is going down hill. The policies the DPP is espousing has not helped anyone. Soon the Danes will wisen up and kick out this racist party. With Sweden and Holland and all the other right wing parties throughout Europe to follow.
11:08 July 6, 2011 by johnny1939
I don't mind showing my passport when I cross a border as long as I do not have to wait a long time to do so. What I do mind is the nazi like treatment one gets from the TSA people in the America and I do hope that this is not a step in that direction.
11:17 July 6, 2011 by Cze
This is just a populist move for the coalition parties to stay in office before the election in the fall.

They want to stay in power at the cost of EU, the reputation of their country, even the economy of their country (the dfanish business organization is against). It is incredible how far desperate politicians can go to keep the power.
11:48 July 6, 2011 by Atlas
As someone who has and does travel between Lund and Copenhagen once a month at least, i don't see any problem with customs checks...After all, so do the Swedes when they board the train at Copenhagen Airport and they do also have drug sniffing dogs with them...should i remind also that at the Swedish side of Øresundbroen there is Customs that can stop you once you pass through the toll booth!!!

Denmark isn't doing what already the Swedes are doing, and i haven't seen anyone complaining about the Swedes...Stop whining and let the Danish Customs do their job...If they stop you because of your skin color, don't blame them, blame your nationals who used the system for their own criminal benefit and put the onus of doubt onto you and others like you who unfortunately had the misfortune (like most of us) to be nationally associated with criminals...
14:26 July 6, 2011 by comentatir
Nobody can convince me that it is perfectly normal to approach someone with the idea that they are potentially criminals! There is nothing to be legitimize about it! Don't try to back up this idea any further!

I do not have to blame anyone for their acts or crimes so that they became negative representatives of their nations. I am against the representation. Everybody is obliged to answer for their own acts so everybody represents him/herself. For those who wants a real extreme example, I just say Hitler!

I am not discussing this issue on the grounds of this border control thing or anything. I am not bothered or against being stopped or searched at the borders or airports. The key here is on what grounds the searches will be done.

I hope some of you could get my point...
14:45 July 6, 2011 by Nemesis
@ Paulus Pietersma

Well said
17:58 July 6, 2011 by wotist
Those dastardly Norwegians are following suit with greatly increased border checks along the Swedish border:

http://www.tv2.no/play/nyheter/innenriks?progId=531503 (sorry, it's in Norwegian)
20:39 July 6, 2011 by Grokh
not true, was just there couple of weeks ago. the train driver actually announced there were thieves in the damm train...and no one asked me for my ID, even though im neither swedish nor danish.

in fact no checkpoints whatsoever.
22:57 July 6, 2011 by calebian22
As the two comments I have posted have been censored (surprising since they were common sense and not bigoted (Although in Sweden, that is the same thing), I will say this instead. Well done, Denmark. Unlike Sweden and the rest of Europe, you understand the problem.
07:30 July 7, 2011 by RobinHood

I too have noticed posts deleted by the Moderator on this issue (and others) that did not breach the Local's terms and conditions - I read them.

Let's hope the moderator knows what he/she is doing; it would be awful if he/she exposed the Local to accusations of censorship.
08:54 July 7, 2011 by cogito
Caleb and RobinHood,

Several of us have noticed the inconsistent application of the terms and conditions.

Flagrant breaches are allowed to stand by some posters (FOMs: Friends of Moderator?).

Other posts, rational and well-argued, are deleted.

Yes, let's hope the Moderator is not exposing the Local to allegations of censorship.
09:08 July 7, 2011 by RobinHood
@Caleb and Cogito and MODERATOR

An e mail to the editor might be in order. MODERATOR, do you have anything to say to us on the matter?
20:16 July 7, 2011 by Nemesis
@Calebian22 and Cogito,

It is impossible to block the private messages/threats, from one poster who is a friend of a moderator.
08:53 July 8, 2011 by cogito
Nemesis, Yes, I know.

The Terms and Conditions are never applied to Friend of the Moderator--who is also a frequent poster. One would wish for a Moderator who at least pretend to be impartial.
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