Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Germany to start border checks with Poland and Czech Republic despite strong protests

The German Interior Ministry intends to re-establish border controls with Poland and the Czech Republic to combat illegal migration.

The measure met fierce resistance within the coalition government and trade unions, who called the move ineffective.

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser told Deutschlandfunk on Tuesday that border controls would be introduced in the coming days.

For now, we are also preparing stationary border controls. This is about adding additional controls. We have to see if that helps.

Last week, she said the government was considering border checks with Poland and the Czech Republic in response to growing migration pressure. According to Politico, she is to formally announce the new border checks on Wednesday.

However, the coalition partners in the liberal FDP and the Greens do not support the move.

Stationary border controls are not a convincing answer.

Following the disapproval of Britta Haßelmann, Greens’ co-chairman in the Bundestag, FDP leader Christian Dürr expressed his opposition, adding that such measures are only applicable in case of an emergency.

Business and police unions have also criticised the Home Office’s plans.

Erika Schöne-Krause, the union’s Vice Chair, called the measures an unnecessary burden on staff, which smugglers would simply bypass, adding random checks would be much more effective.

We are against fixed stationary border checks because it is not effective for police work. We cannot limit the numbers of migration through this.

Entrepreneurs also condemned the measure, fearing that the introduction of border controls would disrupt trade. Any controls should take into account cross-border trade and business, urged the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) and the Federal Association of Forwarding and Logistics (DSLV).

Marcel Fratzscher, an economist and president of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), said closed borders could cause Germany “enormous economic damage,” recalling Brexit as a negative example.

Border controls could be a major topic of discussion at a summit of EU interior ministers on Thursday as several governments of the bloc introduced new internal checks.

Austria announced checks at the Italian border in mid-September, while Poland is considering introducing checks at its border with Slovakia.

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