Denmark's foreign minister fails in her attempt to overcome Germany's objections to her government's plans to reintroduce border checks. However despite the dispute, bilateral relations remain friendly.
Crossing into Denmark isn't as easy as it once was
Germany and Denmark have failed to resolve a dispute over the Danish government's plans to re-establish permanent border controls.
Following a meeting with his Danish counterpart, Lene Espersen, in Berlin, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle underlined Germany's objections.
“We are very critical of Denmark's decision to re-establish permanent customs checks at the border with Germany,” Westerwelle said. “This could be the writing on the wall for freedom in Europe,” he added.
At the same time though, Westerwelle stressed that relations between Germany and Denmark remained strong.
On the defensive
Espersen defended her government's plans, saying the new border checks would be implemented in complete compliance with the Schengen agreement, which guarantees the free movement of people between the 26 European states that have signed on to it. She said the sole aim of the new border controls was “to fight the entry of illegal goods and drugs” into the country.
Espersen is fighting an uphill battle
“Denmark will remain a country open to the world,” said Espersen, who added that there were no plans to introduce regular passport controls.
Espersen is on a mission to mend fences with Germany and Sweden, which has also been irritated by the move. Espersen is to meet with Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt on Friday.
Denmark's center-right minority government agreed to impose the border controls in order to win the support of the right wing Danish People's party.
The plan still has to be approved by the Danish parliament. No date has been set for the vote.
Author: Chuck Penfold ( dpa, AFP)
Editor: Susan Houlton