The Danish government does not believe its newly-established border controls violate the principles of the Schengen zone. Soren Espersen, the deputy speaker of Danish parliament, says the idea of a border-free zone has not survived the reality test.
Copenhagen, in its recent legislating move, has cleared the way for the establishment of permanent border controls. But the controls will be maintained only with regard to goods, not passports, stresses Soren Espersen from the Danish People's Party. Denmark’s main worry is the growth in smuggling and the low-quality counterfeit that crosses the country’s frontiers.
“We want to be certain that what comes into the country is something we want in the country. We don’t want drugs; we don’t want weapons smuggling; indeed we don’t want people who come here on dubious errands. We also don’t want people to leave the country with stolen goods,” argues Espersen.
As for financing the new arrangements, Espersen is sure that the cost of safety and security cannot be too high. The introduction of permanent border controls will be up to 150,000,000 Danish kroner, which the MP finds reasonable.
Espersen admits that Denmark’s move has split Europe.
“This is what happens to the system when ideas are overtaken by reality. We can see the same thing happening with the euro,” says the MP. “We see the EU idea disintegrating.”
Denmark might be just the first of many countries to take steps to avoid further problems, concludes Espersen.
Denmark’s move is a logical reaction to the increased influx of drug trafficking and smuggling, says Danish European Parliament member Morten Messerschmidt, who blames the problem on the abolishment of national border control.
“I think the only thing which is damaging tourism and free movement is the hysteria that we see from the EU institutions and from individual countries like Germany, where the government, I think, has acted incredibly childish,” said the MEP.
Fighting illegal immigration is also on the list of tasks to be tackled by the Danish government, added Messerschmidt, as the crises unfolding in the Middle East have imposed huge pressure on Europe’s borders.
“We have a national as well as an international responsibility to avoid illegal immigrants coming to our country and by doing so creating an environment that is hostile to those who are legally here,” said Messerschmidt.