Denmark: Is this the death of Schengen?
6 July 2011
Since July 5, 50 customs officers have been monitoring the borders of Denmark with Germany and Sweden. The controls were put in place under pressure from the People’s Party, the far-right party that ensures a parliamentary majority for the Liberal-Conservative coalition in power. "Should we laugh or cry?” asks Jyllands-Posten. "The Kingdom of Denmark has been the hit of the summer in the European media. It would be nice if it was voluntary." The problem, says the Danish daily, is that the government wanted to keep the People’s Party happy without jeopardising the Schengen agreements. That is why it speaks of ‘customs controls’, to show that it is not about personal checks.
But this changes nothing, writes Jyllands-Posten, which believes that the Danish government must have understood by now that it "will not succeed in deceiving European governments” by speaking of the controls in this way.
Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen finds himself confronted with a growing problem, the paper notes, and it's time “for him to choose whether it’s Europe or the People’s Party he wants to put in its place. We propose, with respect, that it be the latter."
In Germany, the Süddeutsche Zeitung regrets what it describes as "European sequestration." "It's bad enough that Denmark unscrupulously restricts one of the main freedoms the Europeans have fought for: the abolition of border controls," writes the Munich daily. "But it is worse yet that other European countries are probably going to tolerate this attack against one of the pillars of the unification of Europe. The Commission has known of the intentions of the Danes for almost two months. But since then it has merely ‘examined’ the situation." However, the SZ remarks, “one cannot put forward the excuse that political power is occupied with the debt crisis. Freedoms are just as vital for the EU as its currency."