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Germany strongly rejects Denmark’s move to reintroduce custom controls

Doubts raised over Schengen treaty

11th August 2011: Germany has strongly disapproved of neighbouring Denmark for its move to reintroduce everlasting customs controls at its borders. Germany has termed the move "unjustified".
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Denmark had deployed 50 new customs officers at its borders with Germany and Sweden on July 5. They claimed that the random border checks only aimed to combat the smuggling of illegal goods and drugs but not to control travellers.

The European Union has also spoken out against Denmark’s offer to reinforce controls at its borders with Germany and Sweden. The European Commission is inquiring whether the move may infringe the Schengen free travel agreement, to which Denmark is a signatory. The report is expected to be submitted in September.

German deputy foreign minister Werner Hoyer said in a statement, carried by EU business :  "There isn’t the slightest reason, at this time, to build a new Danish border control system which has raised grave doubts over compatibility with the Schengen treaty with both the European Commission and the German government,"

He added:"It is incomprehensible that action should be taken on the ground before the European Commission had made up its mind" on the matter.”

A Danish foreign ministry official on condition of anonymity told AFP that he had not seen Hoyer’s comments but stressed that Denmark remained committed to "remaining within the boundaries of the Schengen agreement."

He added that they were implementing this in close consultation with the European Commission, and they intended fully to respect Schengen.

Hoyer asserted that the Schengen agreement could not be violated "under the cloak of a justifiable wish of wanting to fight criminality more efficiently.’

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