Eurocrats Condemn Denmark for Defending Its BordersDenmark’s decision to increase the number of customs officers on its borders today has been met with immediate condemnation from ‘liberal’ opposition.
Danish authorities have supplemented the number of border staff in order to combat the importation of illegal goods and drugs – but multiculturalists in Germany and the EU have said the measures are not in the ‘spirit’ of the border-free Schengen Agreement.
German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle, of the Free Democratic Party, told reporters that his government is ‘very critical of Denmark's decision to re-establish permanent customs checks at the border with Germany’.
Another FDP politician, Jörg-Uwe Hahn, even urged Germans to boycott Denmark by going on holiday to Austria or Poland in order to hurt the country financially.
But the Danish tax minister, Peter Christensen, said the initiative was needed to reduce crime:
‘It’s been proven that illegal merchandise is being smuggled into Denmark. Cross-border criminality should not enjoy freedom of movement,’ he said.
The Danish government added 50 extra customs agents to its national boundaries in order to reduce the amount of illegal goods and drugs out of the country. Thirty staff were stationed on the German land border and twenty more on sea borders with Germany and Sweden.
The new measures were approved on Friday by the coalition government, which relies on the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party for support, ahead of a general election later this year.
The European Commission has been in daily contact with Danish authorities, and according to the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, the Commission will be carefully investigating every detail of the plan to ensure that Denmark is not breaking EU laws regarding the right to free movement of people and goods within the EU.
But the Danish government has insisted customs officers will not be checking passports, and that the plan is compatible with Schengen rules.
Danish tax and customs administration director Erling Andersen said the move was a matter of reinforced customs control:
‘We will go after illegal import of, among other things, narcotics, weapons and large amounts of money, precisely as we do today,’ he said.
‘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.
‘In two to three years, there will be customs officers on duty round-the-clock. But that doesn't mean that we will make checks round-the-clock.’
Customs controls will gradually be strengthened to include new buildings at crossings, lower speed limits at checkpoints and new equipment for reading license plates of passing vehicles. By the end of 2011, it is planned that a total of 98 additional customs officers will join the country's 182-man force at the borders with Germany and Sweden.
Remarkably, the stopping of the first car entering Denmark under the new rules was subject to a mob of photographers and live media coverage, as a Western country daring to defend its borders, if only to a small degree, made headline news.
Get Britain out of the EU now – Sign our petition here: http://www.bnp.org.uk/petitions/ReferendumNow