Germany introduces border controls to stem refugee flow

German authorities introduce new border controls to help reduce refugee flow as crisis grows

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Cars drive past the border with Germany near Salzburg, Austria, September 13, 2015. Germany re-imposed border controls on Sunday after Europe's most powerful nation acknowledged it could scarcely cope with thousands of asylum seekers arriving every day.

Germany on Sunday announced the introduction of temporary border controls in order to stop the flow of refugees which is “pushing the country to its limits,” according to senior officials of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's administration.

According to data released by the German authorities, Munich alone received around 13,000 refugees on Saturday and another 4,500 on Sunday.

The decision came on Saturday after Angela Merkel met with Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, premier of Bavaria Horst Seehofer and chief of staff Peter Altmaier.

After the meeting, Premier Seehofer of Bavaria, Germany's largest state in which Munich is located, gave a speech at a press conference in which he said Germany should take more steps in order to cope with the refugee crisis.

"The border controls that have been introduced are not the ultimate solution. We need a range of other steps,” said Seehofer.

“But it is a very important signal to the rest of the world and also to people in Germany.”

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere also defended the new decision.

"The aim of these measures is to limit the current inflows to Germany and to return to orderly procedures when people enter the country," he said.

He added that it was also necessary for security reasons.

Although Germany is hosting the largest number of refugees among the European countries, it has been highly criticised for its decision to host some of the refugees at former Nazi concentration camps.

European Union (EU) ministers will have a meeting on Monday to discuss the EU Commission’s proposal to redistribute around 160,000 asylum seekers across the block.

Number of Refugees EU Countries are Being Asked to Take


Details of the plan were unveiled on Wednesday by European Union Commission Chief Jean Claude Juncker.

According to the refugee relocation quota plan Tusk presented an additional 120,000 refugees in Hungary, Greece and Italy, would be distributed among 22 of the 28 EU member states.

However, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic, have refused to comply with the compulsory quota system, based on each EU member country’s population, income and unemployment rate.

In a joint press conference with Hungarian, Polish and Slovak ministers, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek said that "We're convinced that as countries we should keep control over the number of those we are able to accept and then offer them support."

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto offered on Friday to host a conference between western countries and the non-EU western Balkan nations of Serbia and Macedonia regarding the refugee crisis.

In May the EU announced the first relocation plan for the 40,000 refugees from Italy and Greece, but the plan was blocked by EU member states.

EU Council President, Donald Tusk, said if the ministers failed on Monday to agree on how to cope with the current influx of refugees, there would be an extraordinary summit of EU leaders later this month.

He tweeted "Without concrete sign of solidarity and unity from JHA [justice and home affairs] ministers Monday, I will call extra #EUCO [European Counci] in September on refugee crisis."

TRTWorld and agencies