Denmark has beefed up its border controls in a move that has caused concern among other EU neighbours.
An additional 20 officers have been placed at the country’s sea borders, while a further 30 were posted to the land boundary with Germany.
The first checks were filmed by both Danish and German TV crews, which have been following the story closely since Denmark’s weak coalition government came under political pressure to curb illegal immigration. The legislation was passed in parliament on Friday 1st July after calls for action from the right-wing Danish People’s Party.
Claus Hjort Frederiksen, Denmark’s finance minister, said, “We have seen too many examples of violence, break-ins and brutal criminality committed by perpetrators who have crossed the borders.”
The legality of the move has been questioned, however, due to the 1995 Schengen Agreement which allows passport-free movement across internal borders in most of Western Europe. Speaking to Jyllands-Posten, Germany’s justice minister Juerg-Uwe Hahn said Denmark had “ostracised itself”.
Responding to the criticisms, Danish tax and customs administration director Erling Andersen said in a statement that, “This is a matter of reinforced customs control where we will go after illegal import of, among other things, narcotics, weapons and large amounts of money, precisely as we do today. There will not be any systematic control of all vehicles and trains that pass the border, and the controls will be carried out with the least possible disturbance to traffic,” he added.