Tuesday

5th Jul 2022

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

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

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

Revealed: little evidence to justify internal border checks

EUobserver has obtained notification reports from five European states explaining why they want to impose internal border checks. Few provide any substantial evidence to justify the controls, putting the European Commission in a difficult position to end them.

Opinion

Romania — latest EU hotspot in backlash against LGBT rights

Romania isn't the only country portraying lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people as a threat to children. From Poland and Hungary in EU, to reactionary movements around the world are prohibiting portrayals of LGBT people and families in schools.

News in Brief

  1. EU Commission told to step up fight against CAP fraud
  2. Ukraine needs €719bn to rebuild, says PM
  3. Germany records first monthly trade deficit since 1991
  4. Pilots from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden strike
  5. Report: EU to sign hydrogen deal with Namibia
  6. Israel and Poland to mend relations
  7. Von der Leyen: EU to set up Ukraine reconstruction platform
  8. Three killed in Copenhagen shopping mall shooting

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. EU Parliament sued over secrecy on Nazi MEP expenses
  2. Italy glacier tragedy has 'everything to do' with climate change
  3. The Digital Services Act — a case-study in keeping public in dark
  4. Report slams German opposition to new child sexual abuse rules
  5. Is China a challenge to Nato? Beijing responds
  6. ECB announces major green shift in corporate bond-buying
  7. Ex-Frontex chief 'uninvited' from parliament committee
  8. Czech presidency and key nuclear/gas vote This WEEK

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us