Germany opposes Danish new border controls

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Germany on Wednesday strongly criticized neighbouring Denmark for seeking to beef up its border controls, calling the move "unjustified".

The European Union has also spoken out against Denmark's bid to reinforce controls at its borders with Germany and Sweden in defiance of rules applied to countries which have signed the Schengen free travel agreement.

"There isn't the slightest reason, at this time, to build a new Danish border control system which has raised grave doubts over compatibility with the Schengen treaty with both the European Commission and the German government," German deputy foreign minister Werner Hoyer said in a statement.

"It is incomprehensible that action should be taken on the ground before the European Commission had made up its mind" on the matter, Hoyer added.

Denmark, which deployed 50 new customs officers at its borders with Germany and Sweden on July 5, argues that random border checks are in line with Schengen and that their aim is to combat the smuggling of illegal goods and drugs, not to control travellers.

The Schengen agreement cannot be breached "under the cloak of a justifiable wish of wanting to fight criminality more efficiently," Hoyer added.

In late June, EU nations tasked Brussels with setting down criteria under which Schengen members could resume border checks in the event of a spike in migration such as that seen in France, Italy and Malta since the Arab Spring.

The European Commission is to deliver its findings in September.

© 2011 AFP

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