Tuesday, November 29, 2022

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Border controls: “This is a big mistake”

The Minister of the Interior wants to continue to control the Bavarian border with Austria. The Greens think it is wrong, as Omid Nouripour and Katharina Schulze write in the guest article.

There have been stationary border checks on the Austro-German border again for seven years. Over the past seven years, this has meant miles of traffic jams and restrictions for commuters, tourists, schoolchildren and international freight traffic. The impact and damage to the

The economy is huge, as is the burden on the police.

Over the past seven years, alternative traffic has passed through neighboring communities and is a burden on residents. Over the past seven years, one of the European Union’s greatest achievements, freedom of travel for European citizens, has been undermined, against the will of many competent voices, such as the police union.

The 1985 Schengen Agreement provides for the abolition of the internal borders of the contracting states, including Germany and Austria. A cornerstone of European integration. Today, the Peace in Europe project allows people to travel between countries without barriers and without passport controls.

Today we can move freely and naturally between the European states on whose borders bloody wars were fought in the last century. Many people in the world do not have this privilege. The freedom to travel is therefore also a precious asset that we must preserve and protect.

This is also the view of the European Court of Justice (CJEU). In April this year he made it clear that there should be no internal border controls in the Schengen area. In the event of a serious threat, they can be used as a last resort, but for a maximum of six months.

This means that stationary checks in Bavaria on the Austro-German border are in contradiction with European law. The CSU deliberately ignores such constitutional facts. Because border controls in Bavaria are closely linked to a prestigious project of the CSU state government: a separate so-called “Bavarian border police”. This started with the idea of ​​giving them their own border police powers.

Nothing is left of this, because the Bavarian Constitutional Court has brought the state government back to the constitutional basis of the facts in response to a lawsuit brought by the Greens: border protection is and will remain a federal issue, at all state borders.

The “Bavarian border police” may be called that, but it is none other than the famous search of the veil and only provides administrative assistance to the federal police. Only and exclusively the federal government can decide on the protection at the borders of Germany, also at the external borders of Germany in the state of Bavaria.

A constant extension of border controls within Europe contradicts not only European values, but also the traffic light coalition agreement, which aims to restore the integrity of the Schengen area. We are obliged to keep the promise of freedom to European citizens and to take into account the needs of people in border regions.

It is therefore up to the Federal Minister of the Interior to defend the achievements of European unification and to comply with the existing legal framework. Extending border controls again is a big mistake. Security is possible even without meaningless and endless intra-European border controls.

To combine security and freedom in Europe, we need greater cross-border cooperation between the police and security authorities of the Member States. The expansion of common cross-border police centers would improve cooperation between the two sides of the border and make it more efficient.

A legally safe alternative to permanent and ineffective border controls are priority controls related to events. This would also put a strain on commuters.

But they would also relieve the police officers of the Federal Police, who make a huge effort and accumulate overtime to cope with shifts. Emergency services that are urgently needed elsewhere and could be present in railway stations, for example, for the safety of citizens.

The conclusion is unanimous: border controls within Europe are inefficient, they burden our police and violate European law. According to experts, professional human trafficking gangs should not be caught in this way anyway, as they simply bypass known checkpoints. Instead of placing police officers on the border between Germany and Austria, we prefer to deploy them in Germany.

Bringing together freedom and security is a central task of politics. Border controls in Europe create neither more freedom nor more security. They should be fixed and not renewed.

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