News ID: 134360
Published: 0951 GMT January 04, 2016

Denmark imposes controls at German border

Denmark imposes controls at German border

Denmark has imposed controls at its border with Germany to limit the flow of refugees entering the country, Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen says.

The move came on Monday only hours after the Swedish government announced controls on a major bridge-and-tunnel link with Denmark to limit the number of refugees arriving from Denmark.

Sweden’s control policies require all train, bus and ferry operators to check the photo identification of passengers travelling from Denmark. Stockholm said the move came as it could not cope with the flow of refugees.

“When other Nordic countries seal their borders, it can have major consequences for Denmark. It can lead to more asylum seekers,” Rasmussen said.

The Danish premier warned that Sweden’s move could have a domino effect on Denmark and increase the number of refugees there.

Rasmussen justified Denmark’s plan as a reaction “to a decision made in Sweden. We are introducing temporary border controls but in a balanced way. This is not a happy moment at all."

Denmark received 21,000 asylum requests in 2015. Sweden received almost 163,000 applications last year.

"It's clear the EU is not able to protect its outer borders and other countries are going to be forced to introduce ... border controls. Europe's leaders must react to this," Rasmussen added.

German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer warned that visa-free Schengen zone is “in danger.”

"Freedom of movement is an important principle -- one of the biggest achievements (in the European Union) in recent years," Schaefer said.

European states are concerned that terrorists may enter their countries disguised as refugees. Those concerns were exacerbated in the wake of deadly November 2015 attacks in France, where 130 people were killed in a string of terrorist attacks claimed by Daesh elements, some of whom reportedly had Syrian passports. 

European Union countries, including Germany, Austria and France, also re-imposed border checks in 2015 to reduce the influx of refugees mainly coming from the Middle East and Africa. 

Thousands of the European citizens have joined the ranks of Daesh fighting the Syrian and Iraqi government forces.

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