Monday

11th Dec 2017

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.

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.

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.

Romania wants EU signal on Schengen membership

Bucharest expects other member states to decide on its accession to the passport-free area before it takes the rotating EU presidency on 1 January 2019 - amid criticism of a controversial new justice reform.

Germany says China using LinkedIn to recruit informants

Germany's spy agency says the Chinese state is trying to recruit high-ranking German officials via social media outlets like LinkedIn. It accused Chinese intelligence of setting up fake profiles to lure them into becoming informants.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  2. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  4. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  5. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  6. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  7. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  8. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties
  9. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  10. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe
  11. ILGA EuropeCongratulations to Austria - Court Overturns Barriers to Equal Marriage
  12. Centre Maurits CoppietersCelebrating Diversity, Citizenship and the European Project With Fundació Josep Irla