European Commission welcomes end of Danish border controls


The new Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt announced to José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, that her government will terminate the current practice of enhanced border controls. Earlier this month, the coalition agreement of the new centre-leftist government had included this step: “The government will work to effectively combat cross-border crime within the Schengen co-operation. The plans from May 2011 to build new control facilities at the Danish borders will not be carried out,” The checks at the Danish borders to Sweden and Germany had been introduced by the previous government as a political move in reaction to concerns among the population about illegal immigration. Barroso welcomed the decision to re-take the controls in a meeting with Thorning-Schmidt yesterday: “This was an issue that caused serious concerns for the Commission and I am happy we can put this behind us.”


With regard to Denmark taking over the European presidency in January 2012, Thorning-Schmidt also announced a referendum about two existing Danish opt-outs, one on defence policy, and one on law enforcement. Barroso recommended holding the referendum after Denmark’s EU presidency in order to be able to sensitise the Danish population to their country’s role in Europe.