Another example of domestic political pressure potentially impinging on the “European project”. This time in Denmark, a member of the Schengen zone, where the government has announced the re-introduction of border guards and spot checks “designed to fight crime and illegal immigration”.
From the Wall Street Journal report
In Denmark, the issue of tighter border control has become a political bargaining chip. The governing center-right minority government, which consists of a coalition between the Conservatives and liberal-right party Venstre, wants to raise the retirement age, cut retirement benefits and enact other austerity measures. In exchange for signing off on the deal, the right-leaning Danish People’s Party has demanded the new border controls.
Danish Justice Minister Lars Barfoed, of the Conservatives, said the agreement will help enforce a needed crackdown on cross-border crime.
“Denmark should be a safe country, and we will do all it takes to fight the rise in cross-border crime committed in within our borders,” Mr. Barfoed said, adding that the government has ensured that the tighter border control is carried out within the framework of the Schengen agreement and won’t “impede the free crossing of borders by citizens and businesses.”
No doubt with an eye on the recent Finnish poll, and looking ahead to a Danish general election which must take place by November this year.
We’ve already seen the European Commission’s response to a call for reform of Schengen from France and Italy.
But as the WSJ report also notes
The Schengen zone includes 22 EU countries and three from outside the EU. Other countries in the zone, such as Sweden, Norway and France, already carry out spot checks, said Marlene Wind, a professor at Copenhagen University.
Wednesday’s announcement was “just oversold to cater to the electorate of Danish People’s Party,” she said. “Unfortunately, it also sends a signal to the outside world that Denmark is a small provincial village that wants to be left alone.”
Although, an “oversold” policy is unlikely to placate a disaffected electorate.
And that’s before we reach the real “squeaky bum time in government buildings all over Europe.”