Friday

27th Nov 2020

Denmark tightens border controls

  • Denmark wants to clamp down on migrants (Photo: quietdangst)

Denmark’s new Liberal led government is stepping up border controls in a bid to stop irregular migrants from entering the country.

The moves, announced Tuesday (30 June) by its new minister of foreign affairs Kristian Jensen, is raising broader concerns about internal freedom of movement rules in the EU.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Denmark is part of the EU passport-free Schengen area but says vamping up border checks won’t obstruct free passage.

The foreign ministry in a tweet said the plans are “not permanent border controls”.

Jensen in Berlin delivered a similar message to his German counterpart Frank Walter-Steinmeier.

"We will suggest something that is within the Schengen rules, and there will be a dialogue with Brussels and the EU Commission, but also with our neighboring countries," he said, reports Deutsche Welle.

He also told Reuters they want to “make it tough on criminals to pass, but still easy for companies to come through."

The announcement is anchored in domestic politics.

The Liberal party was trying to enter into a shaky coalition with the anti-migrant Danish People's Party following elections on 18 June but talks between the two sides broke down over the weekend.

The Danish move comes as member states are grappling with mounting anti-migrant sentiment as thousands continue to cross the Mediterranean every week to seek asylum in the EU.

German attacks on the rise

In Germany, far-right attacks against refugee centres have surged, according to a government report out this week.

Germany’s interior minister Thomas de Maiziere described the rise in assaults against refugees and asylum seekers in Germany as “shameful”.

On Tuesday, the United Nations high commissioner for refugees said some 135,000 migrants have arrived by sea since the start of the year.

The whole of 2014 saw around 200,000 come, almost three times as high as the previous record in 2011.

Many are people fleeing violence, poverty and war. Most disembark from war-torn Libya and arrive in either Italy or in Greece.

The EU, for its part, has since launched a naval military campaign in the Mediterranean sea to undermine the smuggling route.

They also agreed to plans to ease asylum demand pressure on Italy and Greece by relocating 40,000 new arrivals to other member states over a two-year period.

Hungary spike

But Hungary has also since seen a spike in new arrivals from the Western Balkan route. Some 50,000 entered the country this year.

Many are fingerprinted and registered in Hungary but then move onto other member states, which then send them back to complete the asylum process.

In terms of asylum requests per capita, Hungary has had more than any other member state except for Sweden.

Authorities in Budapest say they are unable to cope and have since asked member states to stop returning them to Hungary.

Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU commissioner for migration, on Tuesday pledged to help.

He told reporters in Budapest that Hungary will receive nearly €8 million of support to help it cope with the migration issue.

"Hungary is under pressure. We were talking so far about Italy and Greece, now we added Hungary,” he said.

UK and Spain granted most EU citizenships

Both the UK and Spain granted around 40 percent of all new EU citizenships in 2013. Meanwhile Denmark has slashed its monthly allowances to asylum seekers.

'Golden Passports': Malta takes 67 days to respond to EU

The European Commission exchanged 24 letters with Bulgaria, Cyprus and Malta over their 'Golden Passports' schemes between October 2019 and October 2020. Malta took 67 days to respond to the commission's first letter, followed by Cyprus (42) then Bulgaria.

EU to target migrant integration and encrypted apps

Migrants ought to learn EU languages and "integrate" their children, while encrypted messaging apps should give keys to authorities to combat terrorism, EU ministers are preparing to say.

EU Commission: EU free-travel overhaul planned

Plans to reform the EU free-travel zone were already announced in September by the European Commission. On Friday, it re-stated those intentions following demands by the French president for a major overhaul.

News in Brief

  1. Brexit talks pick up pace once more
  2. MEPs back US trade detente
  3. Iran diplomat to stand trial in Belgium over 'France bomb plot'
  4. Trump says he'll leave if Biden wins Electoral College vote
  5. EU Parliament: Polish abortion ban risks womens' lives
  6. UN experts warn against racial profiling
  7. EU auditors raise red flag over maritime protection
  8. Four students charged in France's beheading case

Opinion

Rule-of-law deal: major step for Europe of values

At the very moment when an incumbent president across the Atlantic was carrying out staggering attacks on the foundations of democracy, the European Parliament obtained a historic agreement to protect the rule of law in Europe.

EU to target migrant integration and encrypted apps

Migrants ought to learn EU languages and "integrate" their children, while encrypted messaging apps should give keys to authorities to combat terrorism, EU ministers are preparing to say.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  2. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  4. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector

Latest News

  1. Erdoğan jails hundreds for life, as EU weighs relations
  2. Italian energy giant director advising EU foreign policy chief
  3. Poland and Hungary say rule-of-law link needs treaty change
  4. Portuguese presidency to focus on social rights and India
  5. The under-reported power struggle at the top of the OSCE
  6. Poland hammered on women's rights in EU debate
  7. EU 'front-line' states want clearer migration rules
  8. Von der Leyen tells Poland and Hungary to go to court

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us