Danish nationalist right wing party, The Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkeparti/DF), recently announced the re-introduction of controls at the country’s borders with Germany and Sweden. The centre-right minority government in Copenhagen capitulated and the proposal went through.
The Danish decision came as a surprise to many because it was taken only few hours before an emergency European Union (EU) meeting focused on immigration and the Schengen Agreement. The treaty was signed in 1985 and in 2001 Denmark decommissioned its border control at the German border.
The border-free region counts more than 22 EU countries plus Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland. It goes from Portugal to Russia’s borders on the Baltic, and from Reykjavik to Turkey’s border with Greece.
There were calls in the European Parliament to cut Denmark out of the Schengen regime in light of the new border policy. But the Danish government has promised that border and customs checks will not extend to passport controls, and that this remains compliant with Schengen.
The European Commission is now working to find out whether Denmark complies with international law. Meanwhile the German government has protested that the open border should not be sacrificed for domestic political reasons [da] and Sweden has called it a scandal.
Tight anti-immigration policy
Denmark has developed extremely tight anti-immigration laws within the last ten years and this increasing far-right discourse seem to have spread across the EU – to Italy, France and the Netherlands.
It might also have been triggered by a fear for the migrant consequences of the Arab Spring protests earlier this year.
A Facebook group called ‘Border Police Back in Denmark’ (Grænsepoliti tilbage i DK) [da] has 2,324 members and has supported the DF border initiative with comments such as “Now we can sleep soundly a night”.
‘What about shutting your ass instead of shutting the borders’ (Hvad med at lukke røven i stedet for at lukke grænserne) [da] is the name of another Facebook group – one against the proposal – which has 6,263 members and counting.
Here is some of the unsatisfied comments from Facebook and Twitter:
Lars Rosgaard: Symbolpolitik er desværre den eneste form for politik, der i øjeblikket praktiseres i DK
Lena Olsen: Valgflæsk for DF (…). Jeg er bare så træt af de tosser
Jakob Ellekjær: Det der ødelægger det her land, er dem der styrer det.