Monday

18th Feb 2019

Germany seeks to harden EU border checks

  • Germany wants to harden internal border checks following a terror attack in Berlin in December (Photo: Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch)

Germany is seeking more reasons to maintain internal border checks following a three-month extension announced earlier this week.

Speaking to reporters in Malta's capital Valletta on Thursday (26 January), Germany's interior minister Thomas de Maiziere said he now wants to use threats to security as an additional basis for any prolongation.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Germany had until now based such decisions on article 29 of the Schengen Borders Code to control migration inflows, but the shift towards security marks a new rationale.

"In Germany, we have an extraordinary security situation in this half of the year, just after the Berlin attack," he said.

The Berlin terrorist attack last December had left a dozen dead and over 50 injured after a truck plowed through a Christmas market.

The security motive for extending internal border checks now puts Germany on par with France, which had imposed checks based on "foreseeable events and terrorist threats".

His French counterpart Bruno Le Roux, made similar comments during a joint-press conference in Malta.

Le Roux said France is confronted with both migration flows and security threats, but noted that the "priority is the security of the external borders of Europe."

But upcoming elections in France appear to have triggered a hardening stand towards the EU's open border Schengen area.

Top French presidential contender, conservative politician Francois Fillon, vowed on Tuesday to "re-establish real controls" along the French borders given the security issues if elected in May.

The European Commission announced the three-month extensions for Austria, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Norway on Wednesday. Those checks, first launched last summer, are also in place largely to stem migration.

The EU commission is wary of the checks given that they restrict the free movement of people, a key EU principle, along the controlled areas.

"Schengen is one of the greatest achievements of EU integration, which we must not take for granted," said EU home affairs commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos on Wednesday.

Avramopoulos's comments had followed plans to a launch €200 million programme to deal with migration issues in Libya and north Africa.

Part of the proposal included getting the UN refugee agency and International Organisation of Migration more involved in Libya in an effort to improve conditions in centres for migrants in the country.

De Maiziere, ahead of Thursday's ministerial meeting, told reporters that refugees, in some cases, should be brought to safe places outside of Europe.

"The people taken up by the smugglers need to be saved and brought to a safe place, but then from this safe place outside Europe we would bring into Europe only those who require protection," he said.

The minister did not indicate where those camps would be.

Agenda

MEPs vote on EU-Canada deal This WEEK

MEPs will have a final vote on the EU-Canada trade deal, while Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau will address the European Parliament in Strasbourg this week.

News in Brief

  1. Spain's Sanchez calls snap election on 28 April
  2. 15,000 Belgian school kids march against climate change
  3. May suffers fresh Brexit defeat in parliament
  4. Warning for British banks over Brexit staff relocation
  5. Former Italian PM wants Merkel for top EU post
  6. Antisemitic incidents up 10% in Germany
  7. Italy's asylum rejection rate at record high
  8. Hungary will not claim EU funds for fraudulent project

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  2. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  4. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  6. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  7. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”

Latest News

  1. Sluggish procedure against Hungary back on table
  2. Could Finnish presidency fix labour-chain abuse?
  3. Brexit and trip to Egypt for Arab League This WEEK
  4. Belgian spy scandal puts EU and Nato at risk
  5. EU Parliament demands Saudi lobby transparency
  6. Saudi Arabia, but not Russia, on EU 'dirty money' list
  7. EU agrees draft copyright reform, riling tech giants
  8. Rutte warns EU to embrace 'Realpolitik' foreign policy

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us