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Danish government says border controls 'not weakened' after far-right criticism

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Danish government says border controls 'not weakened' after far-right criticism
Denmark will reduce the number of spot checks at its German border from May 12th. File photo: Frank Cilius/Ritzau Scanpix

The government says it does not agree with criticism levelled by the national conservative parties Denmark Democrats and Danish People’s Party, who say a reduction of spot checks on the German border represents a weakening of Danish border control.

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Denmark’s border controls will be reorganised, not weakened, when it reduces the number of spot checks on motorists crossing from Germany on May 12th, Justice Minister Peter Hummelgaard said in parliament.

“The National Police assessment is that the new operations will have an overall positive effect on fighting cross-border crime,” he said.

“So we are going to be using police resources in the border area more effectively. That is good for Danish people’s security,” he said.

The Danish justice ministry last week confirmed that Denmark will 'reorganise' its border control measures on the frontier with Germany from May 12th.

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The changes to the German border controls mean that fewer motorists will now be stopped for checks at the border when entering Denmark. Instead, border controls will be made in line with police assessments on where they are most needed.

READ ALSO: Denmark to scrap checks at Swedish border and stop fewer drivers from Germany

Border controls have meant long queues can occur when entering Denmark by road from Germany as police pull aside vehicles for spot checks. Waiting times can also occur on trains.

Foreign minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said last week that the reorganisation of the German border controls would enable Danish authorities to free resources for “drones, number plate recognition, and patrols”.

Tightening Danish controls at the country’s Schengen borders has long been a cornerstone policy of the Danish People’s Party (DF), and was also keenly favoured by Denmark Democrats leader Inger Støjberg when she was a minister her former party the Liberals.

Peter Skaarup, an MP with the Denmark Democrats who is also a former of DF, said he was not convinced by Hummelgaard’s justification for the changes and asked by how much personnel would be reduced at the border. 

Hummelgaard responded that the government will “use the same amount of police resources in the border region and at the Danish-German border as we do today.”

“At the border control itself, that is, at the physical border, presence will be reduced by 85 work years,” he said, adding that this police labour will still be used at the border, with 65 work years to be spent on fighting crime in regions alongside the border and the remaining 20 on specific immigration control.

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