Denmark extends checkpoints along German border

Danish government announces an extension of checkpoints along its border with Germany to halt the extraordinarily large number of refugees trying to enter the country.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Border police are seen on January 4, 2016 at the Danish-German border town Krusaa.

Denmark has extended identification checks along the German border until June 2 aiming to halt “an extraordinarily large number of refugee and migrants,” from entering the country.

"There is still considerable pressure on Europe's borders and... migrants and refugees find alternative routes when the borders are closed," Integration Minister Inger Stojberg said in a statement.

"When asylum seekers without proper ID papers cannot travel to Sweden, there remains a serious risk that many refugees and migrants can become stranded in this country," she added.

The controls had already been extended five times, most recently until May 3.

Denmark first introduced its border checks on January 4 along the Germany border, just after Sweden began requiring rail, bus and ferry companies to verify the identities of people travelling from Denmark.

In 2015, Denmark was largely serving as a transit country for refugees who are aiming to reach Sweden, which has one of Europe’s most generous asylum rules.

Denmark received more than 21,000 asylum applications in 2015, a 44 percent jump from 2014, but significantly fewer than Sweden, its northern neighbour, which registered 163,000 asylum applications in the same year.

The Danish government announced last week that the number of asylum seekers has dropped significantly this year. According to data, the number dropped from 641 in the week after border controls were introduced to just 45 last week.

An elderly refugee man stands with children as they wait for the arrival of Angela Merkel, Ahmet Davutoglu, Donald Tusk and Frans Timmermans at Nizip refugee camp near Gaziantep, Turkey, April 23, 2016. (Reuters)

Meanwhile Turkey and the European Union agreed to a readmission deal -over the huge number of irregular refugees- which came into effect on March 20.

The 28-nation bloc pledged to implement visa-free travel in the Schengen Area for Turkish citizens in return for Turkey accepting back refugees who cross into Greece illegally.

Turkey currently hosts more than 2.5 million refugees, mostly from neighbouring Syria.

TRTWorld and agencies