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Schengen in doubt?

June 11, 2015

Germany should retain spot checks at its borders despite Europe's Schengen policy on free travel, says the largest German police trade union. The GdP says "illegal entries" appeared rife during last week's G7 summit.

Bildergalerie Gipfeltreffen G6 G8 G7 Elmau 2015
Image: Reuters/W. Rattay

Jörg Radek, the chairman of the Trade Union of the Police (GdP), told Germany's DPA news agency that police officers who conducted spot checks along the German-Austrian border during the G7 summit discovered major security gaps.

The Schengen Agreement calls for an open-borders policy that now spans 26 nations - including non-EU members Norway and Switzerland. It removes rigid border controls but does allow a member nation to run temporary spot checks.

Jörg Radek, stellv. Bundesvorsitzender der GdP, Sektion Bundespolizei
Retain spot checks, says Radek and police unionImage: picture-alliance/dpa

Radek said between in the two weeks up until last Tuesday, German federal police detected 10,555 "illegal entrants" and 1,056 people sought on warrant during G7 summit-related spot checks.

That had shown that the net of Germany's interior security system had become increasingly easier to slip through, Radek said.

The number of people detected was twice as high as what would typically be found across all of Germany, he added.

Resources lacking

Permanent checks along Germany's borders would be sensible, Radek added, but said this was not feasible because police lacked sufficient personnel and vehicles.

During the summit, colleagues had worked 12-hour shifts and there was a complete ban on vacations for federal police, he said.

Infografik Die Staaten des Schengener Abkommens englisch NEU!

Schengen is a small Luxembourg town, bordering France and Germany, where in 1985, the first of three agreements was signed to gradually dismantle western Europe's internal borders.

Romania and Bulgaria, which joined the EU in 2007, have sought since 2011 to join the Schengen zone in full. So far, they have been turned down on calls to make progress in tackling corruption and secure borders crossed by asylum seekers.

The GdP is one of the three trade unions for police employees in Germany.

ipj/sms (AFP, dpa)