2016 is getting off to a rough start for the EU with a domino effect of border controls being re-introduced between Scandanavia and northern Europe.
Sweden has already resumed border controls with Denmark abandoned in the 1950s. On Monday Denmark said it would do the same with Germany as it struggles to control the flood of asylum seekers heading north.
“If the European Union can’t protect the external borders, you will see more and more countries which will be forced into introducing temporary internal border control. This is something we need to take very seriously, because it will have a negative impact on prosperity. I’m a true believer of the freedom of movement. This is not a happy moment at all,” said Denmark’s Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen.
Sweden has already expressed regret at its decision and noted it was certainly “bad for Europe”, but said it had no other choice. Some 190,000 refugees are believed to have
made it to Sweden in 2015.
The German foreign ministry was quick to respond to Copenhagen’s move, saying Denmark’s re-imposition of controls was against the spirit of free circulation and put the Schengen open borders agreement in danger.
However both Sweden and Denmark are acting within Schengen’s provisions, which allow for the re-introduction of border controls in “exceptional” circumstances.
In September Germany did just that on its Austrian border.