Tuesday

20th Aug 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.

Investigation

EU may extend 'passenger name records' to rail and sea

Documents reveal that EU states are considering broadening requirements on keeping passenger records, currently only applicable to air carriers, to providers of other modes of transport.

UK taking 'steps' after illegal copying of EU Schengen data

According to a classified report, the UK made illegal copies of EU security data, and its disregard for EU rules on handling such data was a "serious and immediate risk". The Commission now says "practical steps" have since been taken.

Stalling on VAT reform costing billions, says Commission

German media outlet Correctiv, along with other newsrooms, have revealed how criminals annually cheat EU states out of billions in VAT fraud. The EU Commission says solutions exist - but member states refuse to budge on tax unanimity.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. EU ends silence on Hong Kong protests
  2. Is Salvini closing just harbours or also the rule of law?
  3. No-deal Brexit would seriously harm UK, leaked paper says
  4. Selmayr did not keep formal records of lobby meetings
  5. EU asked to solve migrant rescue deadlock
  6. Internal EU paper: Second Brexit vote was no longer 'distant dream'
  7. EU has 'zero incentive' to break open 'trilogue' deals
  8. Denmark plans import ban on EU-approved pesticide

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us