Danish border controls are no problem for Germany, minister says

Germany has no problem with Denmark's reintroduction of border controls, a top official said Wednesday, before meeting his Danish and Swedish counterparts to discuss measures taken to control migration flows.

Europe's Schengen border-free zone, to which all three countries belong, is being put to the test, with more than 1 million migrants and asylum seekers reaching the continent last year. Many are fleeing war and conflict in countries such as Syria and Afghanistan.

Germany and Sweden are among the most common destinations for people arriving in the European Union.

EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos convened Wednesday's talks in Brussels after Denmark reintroduced temporary controls along the German border at the start of the week.

The decision was triggered by a Swedish requirement that transport companies check the identity documents of passengers travelling to Sweden, which came into effect on Monday.

"What we are experiencing at the moment is no significant impairment of the border traffic," German State Secretary of the Interior Ole Schroeder said ahead of the talks, which included Swedish Migration Minister Morgan Johansson and his Danish counterpart Inger Stojberg.

"Denmark is doing nothing other than what Germany is carrying out at the German-Austrian border," Schroeder added.

At the same time, he stressed the need to implement common European asylum rules and to secure the external borders of the Schengen area. EU capitals have been divided over how best to tackle the bloc's migration crisis.

Greece in particular has come under fire for failing to secure its borders and register arrivals, effectively allowing people reaching the country by sea from Turkey to continue their journey unhindered towards Northern Europe.

Last month, the European Commission proposed measures aimed at strengthening controls along the EU's external borders. These now require the approval of member states and the European Parliament.

But some aspects face resistance, notably regarding the deployment of EU border guards to countries that have not requested such an intervention.

Last update: Wed, 06/01/2016 - 13:15
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