Denmark extends border controls into 2022

Temporary border controls, in place in Denmark since 2016, are to be extended into 2022, the government has confirmed.

Denmark's border with Germany in June 2020. Border controls have been extended until May 2022.
Denmark's border with Germany in June 2020. Border controls have been extended until May 2022. Photo: Claus Fisker/Ritzau Scanpix

Border controls will remain in place until at least May 11th next year. The Danish government informed the EU of the decision last week, according to a letter signed by Minster of Justice Nick Hækkerup.

The government cites the treat of Islamist terrorism and organised crime in its justification for retaining the controls.

“The ongoing and significant threat to our public order and internal security caused by militant Islamists and organised criminals, who are able to misuse free movement within the Schengen area, continues to be of great concern to the Danish government,” the letter states according to news wire Ritzau’s report.

The justification is the same as provided by the government on previous occasions on which the controls have been extended.

First introduced in January 2016 in response to the European refugee crisis of late 2015, the controls have remained in place since.

Border control will be focused on several of Denmark’s outer border crossings, Ritzau writes.

This includes the land border with Germany as well as the Øresund Bridge crossing to Sweden, which is also technically a land border.

Harbours with ferry services connecting to Sweden and Germany will also be the subject of controls, according to Hækkerup in the letter.

Controls at borders undertaken as a measure to prevent the spread of Covid-19 will end on October 25th. As such, all border controls after that date will be security related.

EU countries which are part of the Schengen agreement, like Denmark, are permitted to introduce border controls if these are deemed necessary to protect internal security.

The controls may be extended for a maximum of six months. As such, they are still considered to be temporary even though the latest extension will take them past their six-year anniversary.

READ ALSO: Denmark to end Covid-19 colour system in ‘normalisation’ of travel rules

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Copenhagen Airport passengers warned of more queues on holiday weekends

Long queues were reported at Copenhagen Airport during last week’s extended public holiday weekend and similar issues are likely during two more upcoming holidays.

Copenhagen Airport passengers warned of more queues on holiday weekends

Staff shortages at security checks, caused by a lengthy rehiring process following the Covid-19 crisis, have been blamed for crowds and long queues at Copenhagen Airport during peak times this spring.

Long waiting times at security were reported both Thursday and Sunday at Copenhagen Airport, resulting in a significant number of passengers missing flights, broadcaster DR writes.

The airport’s commercial director Peter Krogsgaard told DR that Copenhagen is not alone in experiencing problems with queues.

“Copenhagen Airport and all airports in Europe have had a lot to do in re-hiring and training many employees after corona,” Krogsgaard said.

“We are therefore seeing that, now passengers are coming back and fortunately want to travel again, we are under a bit of pressure to begin with,” he said.

This means that passengers planning to travel during two more upcoming peak times – the public holidays on Ascension Day (Thursday May 26th) and Pentecost (Monday June 6th) – should brace themselves for lengthy queues at the airport.

Up to 70,000 passengers are expected during the first of the two public holidays, according to Copenhagen Airport.

“We expect to be very busy and are therefore advising all passengers travelling within Europe to arrive two hours before their flight. If you are going to outside of Europe, to the Unites States or Asia, you should come three hours before,” Krogsgaard told DR.

Passengers have few options should they miss flights due to long waits at security, a consumer rights consultant said to DR.

“You are in a very bad situation if you get to the airport too late in relation to the waiting times there actually are at security, because it’s your own responsibility to get to the airport in time to make the flight,” Vagn Jelsøe, senior consultant with the Danish Consumer Council (Forbrugerrådet Tænk), said to DR.

The airport expects to be fully staffed by the beginning of June, DR reports.

“Since January, we’ve done nothing other than hire a lot of new people and they must be trained and educated, and it takes some time for them to get to the security lanes,” Krogsgaard also said.

Airline SAS last week said it would cancel around 4,000 flights over the summer. The decision was made due to staff shortages combined with delayed deliveries of new aeroplanes, SAS said.