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Danish People's Party wants barbed wire fence on Germany border

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Danish People's Party wants barbed wire fence on Germany border
Photo: Iris/Scanpix
08:18 CEST+02:00
The nationalist Danish People's Party wants to put up a barbed wire fence with motion sensors on Denmark's border with Germany.

The party recently visited the border between Hungary and Serbia in order to study border security methods, reports newspaper Politiken.

In addition to the fence along its border, Hungary's model includes detainment of asylum seekers in camps for unlimited time periods while their applications are reviewed.

The model used by Hungary on its border with non-EU Serbia should be copied by Denmark, says Anders Vistisen, group chairperson with the Danish People's Party (DF) in the EU Parliament.

DF is currently Denmark's second-biggest party, holding 37 of parliament's 179 seats, but is not part of the centre-right coalition government.

“We in DF are very excited about what we experienced in Hungary. The model is identical to the one we propose be introduced between Denmark and Germany,” said Vistisen to Politiken.

The fence would consist of a three-metre border fence with barbed wire, motion sensors and surveillance cameras.

EU politicians and a number of international organisations have criticised the methods used in Hungary. Denmark's state Refugee Board (Flygtningenævnet) recently announced that it found conditions for asylum seekers in Hungary too insecure for Denmark to send its own refugees to the central European country.

“It was not luxury in any way, but conditions were perfectly fine for the purpose, which is to detain people until their asylum applications have been processed,” said Vistisen.

The Danish People's Party has long called for tight border control with Germany.

Vistisen told Politiken that he saw the system as having the potential to enable Denmark to return 95 percent of its asylum seekers to Germany, since Denmark would be able to prove that people detained on the border had already been in a country in which they could have applied for asylum.

“If the Germans have a problem with it – if they say that the refugees come from Greece or Austria – then the Germans will just have to get control of their own borders,” Vistisen said.

The 174-kilometre fence between Hungary and Serbia - which is not encompassed by the same rules as internal EU borders - cost Hungary $602 million dollars to erect, reports Politiken. A similar cost corrected for the length of the Denmark-Germany border would give Denmark a bill of around 1.5 billion kroner ($226 million).

In 2015, the hitherto peak year for asylum seeker arrivals in the EU, Hungary took in 177,000 asylum seekers and Denmark 21,000, according to the newspaper.

Denmark's oft-extended emergency border controls were introduced in January 2016 and have seen border police return to the frontier with Germany. 

The Scandinavian country was recently encouraged by the EU to phase out the border checks it currently has in place on its borders with Germany over the next six months.

A situation in which the EU would grant Denmark permission to erect a barbed wire fence on its border is “unthinkable”, said Frank McNamara, border control expert with thinktank European Policy Centre.

“EU institutions are against border fences. They have said this again and again. And the EU is generally against the Hungarian model. I think it is laughable to suggest that model can be used between Denmark and Hungary,” McNamara told Politiken.

Vistisen told the newspaper that he was aware that the fence would likely breach EU rules, but that DF is prepared to risk a trial over the issue.

Schengen rules aren't being followed at the moment,” he said, with reference to the current ID checks on the Denmark-Germany border.

Morten Løkkegaard, EU Parliament representative with Denmark's governing Liberal (Venstre) Party, called the DF proposal “absurd”.

“If you want to barricade Denmark with bricks and fences, you can take inspiration [from Hungary], but the Liberal party does not support that. It makes no sense to throw a three-metre fence up in the middle of Europe,” Løkkegaard told Politiken. 

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