Wednesday

24th Jan 2018

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.

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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.

Facebook promises privacy reboot ahead of new EU rules

Speaking in Brussels, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, says the social media giant has "not done enough to stop the abuse of our technology." Her admission comes with new plans to wrestle with "bad content".

Rights NGOs face fresh threats in EU

While ongoing crackdowns in Poland and Hungary have put the spotlight on rights groups, NGOs are now under new political and financial pressure across the EU, the Fundamental Rights Agency said.

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