Saturday

21st Oct 2017

Netherlands defends border control project

  • Dutch police (Photo: copsadmirer@yahoo.es)

The Dutch interior ministry has said new cameras for screening people who enter the country by car will not violate EU laws on free movement or privacy.

In what looks like a fresh attack on the Schengen passport-free travel agreement, the pilot scheme - entitled "@migo-Boras" - is to see €19 million worth of cameras installed on 15 major highways from Belgium and Germany and in some police cars between February and April.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

If they spot a number plate which is red-flagged in the police database, officers will intercept the vehicle in a bid to stop illegal immigrants and criminals.

The cameras will operate in a zone up to 20km from the border and will initially look at small samples of cars and trucks for a maximum of six hours a day or 90 hours a month.

Dutch interior minister Gerd Leers said in a written statement in December the system "falls within the existing rules for border control and privacy."

He added: "The cameras will not constitute a permanent border. They only support the work of the Royal Military Police ... Since limitations [on travel] have been lifted in the European Schengen area, the surveillance system does not have the character of the former border."

The scheme has attracted criticism in German media.

Frank Richter, the head of the German police union, the GdP, told the German press agency the system puts "all travellers under general suspicion." Socialist politician Angelica Schwall-Duren said she has asked The Hague for clarification on how the number plate data will be stored.

For his part, Leers added that the European Commission has also quietly made enquiries and that he will file a report to Brussels.

The Dutch move comes after Denmark recently imposed and then lifted similar border checks.

The Netherlands in December also vetoed letting Bulgaria and Romania join the Schengen area despite the fact they met technical requirements. Polish interior minister Jerzy Miller at the time commented: "Mutual trust means keeping promises as well. Today that promise has been broken ... We live in difficult times for the EU."

Denmark and the Netherlands have influential far-right parties on their political scenes. But the anti-Schengen trend is bigger than the two northern neighbours.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy in a 'state-of-the-union' speech in December also said "Europe, which has to apply internally the principle of free movement but which does not control its external frontiers - that can't go on. Schengen must be reconsidered."

The statement alarmed Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt who tweeted that Sarkozy is trying to win right-wing votes at the cost of EU values. "Election campaigns are what they are, but we must not endangered the gains we have made in creating a more open Europe," he said.

Dutch tulips blocked at Romanian border in Schengen dispute

Romanian authorities blocked Dutch flower imports over the weekend, one day after the Netherlands government announced it would veto Romania and Bulgaria's entry to the border-free Schengen area. Sofia, meanwhile, has threatened to withdraw its support for Schengen reform laws if it's not admitted into the zone.

Brussels defends Dutch border control project

Dutch use of military-grade camera equipment to check who is going in and out of the country is in line with EU law, the commission has said, shocking some MEPs.

EU gives thumbs up to US data pact

Commission gives 'thumbs-up' to controversial Privacy Shield deal with US on data sharing after a year's operation - but notes room for improvement.

News in Brief

  1. Rajoy to trigger Article 155 on Saturday in Catalan crisis
  2. EU conducts unannounced inspection of German car firm
  3. Lithuania calls for new EU energy laws
  4. EU leaders aim for December for defence cooperation
  5. Juncker says hands tied on Russia pipeline
  6. Czechs set to elect billionaire Andrej Babis
  7. Italian regions hold referendums on more autonomy
  8. EU leaders refuse to mediate Catalonia conflict

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Friends of ArmeniaEU Engagement Could Contribute to Lasting Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh
  2. UNICEFViolence in Myanmar Driving up to 12,000 Rohingya Refugee Children Into Bangladesh Every Week
  3. European Jewish CongressEJC Applauds the Bulgarian Government for Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
  4. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  5. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  8. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  9. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  10. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  11. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  12. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People

Latest News

  1. The mysterious German behind Orban's Russian deals
  2. Mogherini urged to do more on Russian propaganda
  3. Turkey funding cuts signal EU mood shift
  4. Posted workers top EU agenda This Week
  5. Leaders lobby to host EU agencies at summit's margins
  6. Legal tweak could extend EU control on Russia pipeline
  7. Ukraine language law does not harm minorities
  8. EU begins preparations for Brexit trade talks