Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The European idea

The Huns, according to The Irish Times, are getting a tad irritated with their Danish neighbours, the latter having decided to double the number of customs officers patrolling its borders and conducting spot checks on vehicles, bringing the number to 260.

The Danes say the move, ostensibly to fight organised crime, human trafficking and the drugs trade, is in line with EU law. The number of customs officers on the border with Germany will be increased by a third to ninety, and they look to be a permanent fixture. From 2014. new border huts and licence-plate scanners will be erected.

In response, Jörg-Uwe Hahn, minister for Europe in the state of Hesse has told the tabloid newspaper Bild that freedom of travel is "one of the most visible achievements of Europe. Whoever makes a mistake here, particularly in the holiday season, is taking an axe to the European idea".

"If Denmark is introducing border controls again during the holiday season, I can only suggest that people turn right around and holiday in Austria or Poland instead", he adds.

Soeren Espersen of the Danish People's Party is calling Hahn an extremist. "I get chills when someone talks about the EU like a religion", he says. And well he might. The last time someone seriously took on board the "European idea", it had some rather unpleasant consequences (pictured).

Mind you, one is a little nervous about a German politician suggesting that his fellow countrymen should turn right and holiday in Austria or Poland, especially when they are also talking about "freedom of travel". They tried that before - even in Brussels (pictured above). And the outcome was not that much better.