Denmark extends border control by six months

Border control on the frontier between Denmark and Germany is to continue for a further six months, the Ministry of Immigration and Integration announced on Friday.

Denmark extends border control by six months
File photo: Claus Fisker/Ritzau Scanpix

The ministry will extend the measure for a further six months effective from November 11th, when the current border control expires.

The Danish ministry cited a “serious terror threat” against Denmark as the primary reason for the continuation.

A number of rules must be complied with in order for Schengen countries to implement temporary border control.

When it extended border control one year ago, Denmark changed its justification for the measure from the high flow of migrants to the country – the original reasoning from 2015 – to also citing a stated terror threat.

Terror is now the primary reason for continuation of border control, according to Friday's ministry statement.

“The government has succeeded in bringing arrival and asylum figures to a low level, which I am pleased about. Nevertheless, there remains a serious terror threat against Denmark and considerable pressure on Europe's outer borders. The government therefore believes border control is necessary to protect Denmark's security,” immigration minister Inger Støjberg said in the statement.

READ ALSO: Denmark asylum applications lowest for ten years: ministry

The government has informed the European Commission and other Schengen member states of the decision, the ministry confirmed.

The temporary border controls were first introduced on January 4th, 2016 and have been renewed on several occasions by the government.

“We live in the real world and in the real world, there is a serious terror threat against Denmark,” Støjberg told news agency Ritzau on Friday.

Denmark has been in close consultation with other Schengen countries that currently have temporary border controls – Germany, Austria, Norway and Sweden – over the decision, Støjberg also said.

“We are keeping close contact with regard to border control. I know that the other countries will also be making announcements soon,” she said.

Austria announced Thursday that checks on its borders with Hungary and Slovenia would be extended by six months, and Støjberg expects similar extensions from the remaining three countries.

The minister did not comment on for how long border controls might continue to be extended.

READ ALSO: Future of Danish border checks raised in budget negotiations


Always bring ID: Danish checks on Sweden border take effect

Danish checks on border crossings with Sweden have come into effect.

Always bring ID: Danish checks on Sweden border take effect
Danish customs officers on the Øresund Bridge. File photo: Morten Germund/Ritzau Scanpix

The Danish government announced last month that it would bring in controls on the border, citing recent bomb explosions and gang violence.

The border checks will take place at all border crossings one or more times per week.

People travelling across the border will therefore need to carry the proper identification such as a passport or driving licence.

In a confirmation issued on Monday, Denmark’s National Police confirmed the border control was now effective and reaffirmed its intention of “preventing serious and organized crime from spreading”.

All travellers should be prepared to show identification, the police statement added.

Copenhagen and surrounding areas have been subjected to a series of explosions and gang-related shootings in recent months.

Those incidents include an explosion at the Tax Agency in the Nordhavn area of the city, for which police suspect two Swedish men. No serious injuries occurred.

“We are targeting organized crime and it is a stated goal for normal travellers to be affected as little as possible by the border control. The frequency of checks will depend upon current status of investigations and local conditions and traffic flow,” National Police director Lene Frank said in the statement.

Border control will take place in the form of spot checks and periods in which police controls will be in place. This will apply to ferry crossings between Sweden and Rønne (Bornholm), Helsingør (Zealand), Frederikshavn and Grenaa (both Jutland); traffic as on the Øresund Bridge and on all rail connections between Sweden and Denmark, Franks confirmed.

Stockholm has meanwhile announced its own response to a recent spate of violent crime incidents including explosions and fatal shootings in Sweden.

EU rules allow temporary border control within the Schengen zone for up to six months, after which application must be made to member states via the Commission's council of ministers to extend the arrangement.

Commuters between Copenhagen and Malmö and others who regularly cross the Denmark-Sweden border are likely used to bringing passports with them, given that Sweden has had its own controls in place since the European refugee crisis in late 2015.

Denmark has had checks in place on its border with Germany since January 2016, having extended them on several occasions.