Germany to reimpose border controls during Cup

30th March 2006, Comments 0 comments

30 March 2006, BERLIN - Germany will reimpose border controls with some of its neighbours during the World Cup, Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Thursday.

30 March 2006

BERLIN - Germany will reimpose border controls with some of its neighbours during the World Cup, Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Thursday.

He said the measures would apply to countries covered by the Schengen accord on control-free travel which share land borders with Germany.

These are Austria, Denmark, France and the three Benelux countries. Passport-free travel with these countries has been in force since the 1990s.

Schaeuble, who is in charge of sport, was speaking at the start of a conference on security at the World Cup attended by representatives from all 32 participating nations.

The minister said Germany will take every precaution necessary to ensure the World Cup is a safe one, but did not want to turn it into a "security World Cup."

Germany, he said, did not intend to erect barriers but to open doors so that the World Cup would be a festival of friendship.

Around 280 participants are attending the two-day conference, which will discuss security preparations for the 64-match tournament beginning June 9.

Sepp Blatter, president of football's world governing body FIFA, said security was an important aspect of the World Cup finals but the main issue was the actual matches.

German football icon Franz Beckenbauer said in his welcoming remarks that security had grown in importance over the years of World Cup competition.

Beckenbauer, who is president of the organizing committee, welcomed reports that Germany was prepared to put 7,000 soldiers on call to help police the tournament.

"We have provided the World Cup with as much security as possible. I don't see why the armed forces shouldn't be called in if needed," he said.

A report in Thursday's Der Tagespiegel newspaper in Berlin said Germany's domestic intelligence service was worried that right-wing extremists would try to disrupt the World Cup.

The newspaper said neo-Nazis and the extremist NPD party planned several demonstrations, including one on June 10, a day after the opening match between Germany and Costa Rica.

DPA

Subject: German news

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