Denmark confirms latest extension of checks at German border

The checks carried out by Danish police on the border with Germany have been extended by another six months, Copenhagen has confirmed.

Denmark confirms latest extension of checks at German border
Cars enter Denmark from Germany in June 2020. Border controls have been extended by a further six months, Denmark's government has confirmed. Photo: Claus Fisker/Ritzau Scanpix

The border control is technically temporary but has been in place since January 2016. The latest extension takes effect on November 12th and will therefore take the checks into an eighth year.

Danish Justice Minister Mattias Tesfaye confirmed the extension in a note to the parliamentary Justice Committee on Monday.

Tesfaye has also written to EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson to confirm the ongoing border controls.

Addiotnally, Tesfaye said that the Russian invasion of Ukraine increases the risk of persons “who could represent a threat to Denmark” travelling into the Schengen zone.

Under the rules of the Schengen agreement, countries can place temporary border controls under exceptional circumstances. After a six-month period, the temporary checks must be renewed.

Denmark initially cited the refugee crisis of late 2015 for implementing checks, and now states the “security and migration situation” as its justification, in reference to what it says is a threat of organised crime and terrorism.

In practice, border control means long queues often occur when entering Denmark by road from Germany as police pull aside vehicles for spot checks.

Spot checks can also occur on the Denmark-Sweden border under the Danish temporary arrangement. Sweden also carries out checks on its border with Denmark.

READ ALSO: Swedish PM calls for ‘permanent border control’ with Denmark

In the letter to the EU Commission, Tesfaye provides several data related to the spot checks on the border with Germany.

Between January and August this year, 202 weapons were confiscated by Danish authorities at the border. Just under 2,000 people were refused entry to Denmark at the border.

Denial of entry is most likely to be a result of not being able to provide the correct documentation.

Three left-leaning parties in the Danish parliament – the Red Green Alliance, Socialist People’s Party (SF) and Social Liberals (Radikale Venstre) — want the border controls to be scrapped.

Red Green Alliance justice spokesperson Rosa Lund said police resources should be used elsewhere and rejected justifications for the ongoing controls provided by Tesfaye.

“I think it is a completely hopeless use of police resources that they, in a situation where we no longer have the coronavirus pandemic hanging over us, have to stand at the border and check,” Lund said.

The decision of whether to conduct border checks should lie with the police, rather than the government, she also argued.

“This isn’t something we should sit and regulate from [parliament],” she said.

Denmark’s border control cost taxpayers 1.25 billion kroner between January 2016 and June 2019, according to national broadcaster DR.

READ ALSO: German politician complains to Denmark over border control

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Crisis-stricken airline SAS records heavy losses

Troubled Scandinavian airline SAS, which has filed for bankruptcy in the United States, reported deeper losses in the fourth quarter on Wednesday.

Crisis-stricken airline SAS records heavy losses

Net losses amounted to more than 1.2 billion Swedish kronor ($117 million) in the August-October period, compared to a loss of 744 million kronor a year earlier, the company said in a statement.

“As with previous quarters in 2022, the currencies (foreign exchange) and jet-fuel price have brought strong headwinds for our business,” said SAS chief executive Anko van der Werff.

The airline, however, saw the “highest number” of passengers since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, with healthy demand in the summer, van der
Werff said.

The airline, which cut 5,000 jobs in 2020, is preparing for “substantial recruitments and rehirings” to meet the expected increase in demand next
summer, he added.

SAS filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in the United States in July — a move allowing a company to restructure its debts under court

Van der Werff said the airline expected to complete the court-supervised process during the second half of 2023.

Earlier this year, The airline posted a net loss of 1.84 billion kronor ($170 million) for the May-July period, compared to a loss of 1.33 billion kronor a year earlier.

Earnings were “severely affected” by the 15-day pilot strike between July 4th-19th, which led to the cancellation of some 4,000 flights affecting more than 380,000 passengers, the company said in a statement.