Germany lashes Denmark move to reopen border controls

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The German government Thursday reiterated its opposition to plans by neighbouring Denmark to reopen customs controls on its borders, saying they violated the Schengen travel-free area.

"Denmark is aware of our criticism on their plan," said German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich while attending talks with European Union counterparts.

"We do not want to initiate a conflict with Denmark, but we will ask clear questions," he said. "We cannot accept that Schengen be undermined."

Denmark, where the populist far-right is an increasingly significant force, suddenly announced last month it would re-establish controls on its borders with Germany and Sweden, stopping travellers in the case of suspicion of cross-border criminal activity such as drug-trafficking.

The plan caused outrage as the country is a signatory to the 26-nation Schengen border-free area, with the European Commission, guardian of EU treaties, raising the spectre of litigation.

© 2011 AFP

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