Why German police are against eastern border controls

James Jackson
James Jackson - [email protected]
Why German police are against eastern border controls
German police stand at the German-Polish border in July. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Hannes P Albert

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser wants stationary border controls on the borders with the Czech Republic and Poland to stop smugglers. But German police measures have criticised the measures as ineffective.


Germany’s police union has criticized plans for stationary border controls with the Czech Republic and Poland after Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said the temporary measures were being prepared to stop smugglers.

“We speak out against stationary, fixed border controls because we do not see this as effective in police work,” the vice chairwoman of the Federal Police Union Erika Krause-Schöne told the Rheinische Post newspaper.

She described the controls as an ineffective “permanent burden” and “very personnel-intensive” which hinders the movement of commuters and trade, while preventing the police from being able to “act agilely on the border.”

READ ALSO: Will Germany introduce tighter border controls?

Temporary measures

On Tuesday morning, one hundred Syrians who were suspected of being smuggled into the country were discovered during a raid by 350 police officers across five states. Arrest warrants were issued for five members of a family who were suspected of being part of a smuggling gang and are themselves Syrian asylum seekers.

A further five members of the same family were arrested in the raid.

Faeser, from Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats (SPD), had previously rejected setting up border controls, but as the number of migrants coming to Germany has risen and the topic of migration has once again come up the political agenda, she announced that she will consult with Germany’s two eastern neighbours on implementing the temporary measures to stop smugglers.

Defending her plans, Faeser told Deutschlandfunk public radio “we are for the moment preparing stationary border controls…and we will have to see what that brings.”


“My goal is to put maximum investigative pressure on smugglers and to protect people who are smuggled across borders in life-threatening conditions, often without water and with hardly any oxygen," the minister said.

She added that it was important "that we have staff in the border area," because otherwise smugglers would then cross the border in other places.

"If we catch smugglers, it will make a big difference, because at the moment we have the feeling that one in four or five people comes into the country via smugglers."

Current border controls

There have been temporary stationary border controls on the Bavarian border with Austria since 2015, when millions of Syrian and other Middle Eastern refugees came to Germany.

Permission to have these border controls has to be granted by the EU Commission so as not to go against the Schengen agreement, which abolished border checks within European signatory states.

Migration is currently top of the political agenda in Germany, with news magazine Der Spiegel’s controversial cover this week appearing similar to an anti-Semitic poster warning about Jewish migration from 1901, Ashley Passmore, an academic in Jewish studies, posted on Twitter.

Minister Faeser has been promising tougher measures against illegal migration while facing a tough election battle in her home state of Hesse in October, where she hopes to take over as the state premiere from the CDU’s Boris Rhein.


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