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Westerwelle attacks plan for Danish border checks

The Local · 15 Jun 2011, 15:58

Published: 15 Jun 2011 15:58 GMT+02:00

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"We are very critical of Denmark's decision to re-establish permanent customs checks at the border with Germany," he said after meeting Lene Espersen, who was in Berlin on what was billed as a fence-mending mission.

"We will continue our dialogue on the issue ... we must continue to discuss it," he told reporters, adding that he was pleased Espersen assured him that Denmark would not introduce passport checks at the border with Germany.

Espersen insisted that the new border checks were in full agreement with the Schengen accords governing the 26-nation passport-free area and that their aim was "to fight the entry of illegal goods and drugs" into Denmark.

"Denmark will remain a country open to the world," she said.

After Westerwelle, Espersen is to meet Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt on Friday and Poland's Radoslav Sikorski Monday on the sidelines of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in a bid to cool tensions over the plan, her ministry said.

Denmark's centre-right government hammered out the customs plan under pressure from its far-right ally.

The move, which has met heavy criticism both at home and abroad, had been set to easily pass through Denmark's parliamentary finance committee last week.

But a counter-proposal by the opposition forced the government to put the matter to a full vote in parliament. No date has yet been set for that vote.

Story continues below…

Critics at home and abroad, especially the European Commission and Germany, have cautioned that the plan would undermine the principles of the Schengen area.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:58 June 15, 2011 by MJMH
Good for Denmark. The Danes was the only country that saved their Jews during WW2 now they will probably be the only country that saves Europeans from the EU monstrosity.
22:24 June 15, 2011 by catjones
'undermine the principles of the Schengen area.' I agree. Either you join the club and follow the rules or quit. You don't get to cherry-pick.
23:11 June 15, 2011 by MonkeyMania
Methinks this is an unnecessary step taken by the Danes which is undermining the community principles to our mutual detriment. Surely it is better to pool resources to fight the movement of drugs and illegal goods? This action will slow down legitimate trade.
02:43 June 16, 2011 by lunchbreak
The Danes can see the handwriting on the EU wall which these days is as leaky as a sieve, Well might the germans scream, misery loves company and none of the europeans would like to think that Denmark might actually escape the collective fate of a wider and increasing social chaos.
10:13 June 16, 2011 by moistvelvet
A bit hypocritical of the Germans considering I have to show my passport to a German policeman and check out of the country when I fly to the UK and when you return you have to check back in. This has nothing to do with security on the aircraft, other countries don't do it, just another case of Germany cherry picking what EU rules they want... as usual.

So if it's good enough for the Germans it is good enough for the Danes and the Germans should stop bleating about it.
12:26 June 16, 2011 by ChrisRea

With all due respect, UK is not a Schengen country. If you would leave Germany (or any other Schengen country) for Ireland, Romania or Bulgaria (all EU member states), you will need to show your passport too. Passport control is not needed only when you travel between two Schengen countries. So you are not the victim of cherry picking.
13:47 June 16, 2011 by HistoryProffessor
I think the EU was a huge mistake. There is a pretty good chance that the Danes have identified this and are already trying to prevent or limit the long term damage the fall of the EU may cause to many of its participants. When you have 26 different countries sharing the same currency but having completely different economic policies it sets all 26 up for economic disaster, What we find is large economic power houses dropping themselves to the level of the struggling countries. Shared, poverty is the result or at best shared medeocrity. Either way its not good. The point is. Having a Universal currency does not create a situation where the big countries bring up the little ones, its the other way around. The little countries bring the successful ones down.
14:12 June 16, 2011 by moistvelvet
@ChrisRea, ok UK is not but you are missing my point, there are 24 other countries I could fly to from the same airport, all within the Schengen area yet I must produce my passport for inspection when leaving and returning to Germany. Driving to Denmark or flying to France, Germany is once again cherry picking the rules it signed up for.
18:18 June 16, 2011 by ChrisRea

Forgive me if I am too scrupulous: the EU and the countries that use Euro are definitely not the same. Only 17 out of 27 EU member states use Euro (just a bit more than half). However, there are other 6 countries or territories that decided that it is better for them to use Euro even if they are not (yet) EU member states (Andorra, Kosovo, Montenegro, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City).

Having this in mind, I am not sure if you argue that the Euro currency or the European Union was a mistake.

Scientific studies show that the introduction of a common currency increased trade between countries. My guess is that another advantage is that it made easier to early detect wrong fiscal policies (Greece is the case at hand; would Greece not have Euro as currency, it would probably been successful in hiding its catastrophic situation couple of years more).

Regarding the European Union, there is no objective information showing that it was a mistake. From a historic perspective, it is worth noting that it exists already for 18 years (or 53 years if we admit that the the name change brought by the Maastricht Treaty was not really a significant thing). During this period it grew continuously and other 9 countries or territories want to join EU, while no existing member state would even consider leaving.

The recent Denmark's decision about border checks (which is the subject of the present article) has to do with the Schengen agreement. But once again, I could not determine from your post to which of these concepts (European Union, Euro currency, Schengen agreement) are you referring to.
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