EU legal action over Danish border checks

Denmark’s recent announcement that it will soon resume checking its borders with Germany and Sweden has drawn fire from EU officials.

Last week saw the EU threaten Copenhagen with legal action over the proposals. EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said that the union would, “if needed, use the tools at its disposal to guarantee the respect of EU law,” the Swedish Wire reports.

The announcement of border patrols and passport checks came via Denmark’s increasingly powerful far-right two weeks ago, creating outrage across the continent and claims that the move was in violation of the Schengen border-free agreement between 25 nations.

The Danes insist that the checks would only be used on individuals suspected of taking part in cross-border crimes, such as narcotics trafficking. Danish Integration Minister Soren Pind said, “This has nothing to do with personal passport controls.” He went on to say, “I think that when this model is studied carefully, everyone will see that it is, if I may quote Shakespeare, much ado about nothing.”

Commissioner Malmstrom, a Swede, said that, before any legal action would move ahead, there would first be a dialogue, adding that authorities needed to, “refrain from taking unilateral steps and make sure that any measures taken are in line with the relevant law,” the Swedish Wire reports.

Meanwhile, EU commission head Jose Manuel Barroso also expressed concern and said that the initial legal analysis of the idea, “raises important doubts about whether the proposed measures, if implemented in the ‘intensive and permanent way that has been announced, would be in line with Denmark’s obligations under European and international law.”

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