Germany Plans Tougher Border Controls with Switzerland

Horst Seehofer - Justice and Home Affairs Council in Brussels Belgium

Germany plans to reintroduce internal border checks with Switzerland to control the number of illegal immigrants that enter Germany. It already has an existing border control with another Schengen country, Austria. Last week, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer informed Spiegel magazine that Germany may soon initiate border controls with southern neighbor Switzerland.

I will do everything possible to push for smart controls at the borders,” Minister Seehofer said, while also admitting that these plans have yet to be discussed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Seehofer revealed that 43 thousand illegal immigrants crossed the German borders last year. He hopes to dramatically decrease this number through ransom police checks in border regions by reintroducing the temporary border checks.

Seehofer’s planned action comes in the aftermath of a violent incident at Frankfurt train station when a boy was killed at Frankfurt’s railway station by a Swiss-based Eritrean.  

Germany’s land border checks with Austria were scheduled to expire on November 12, 2019. In a separate development, Denmark and Norway have also reintroduced borders with Germany, which were set to expire on the same date. They cited “security situation in Europe and severe threat to public order and internal security” as their bases for their decision.

The implementation of internal border controls has become a hot topic among EU member states for years now as several countries have habitually extended internal checks since their inception in 2015, as a result of the migration crisis hounding countries in the Schengen Area.    

In view of these developments, Tanja Fajon, the rapporteur of the European Parliament Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs Committee submitted 42 proposed amendments to the rules of internal border reintroduction within the Schengen zone in October. She asserts that the internal border checks currently implemented by member countries violate EU law.  

In May 2019, Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen proposed that permanent border controls be introduced in Denmark as a solution to address the issues on illegal migration and terrorism. Rasmussen’s proposal was immediately chastised by Danish political analysts asserting that one cannot be having permanent border controls and at the same time being a Schengen member.      

 The member countries of Schengen territory that currently implement internal border checks are Germany, Austria, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and France.

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