As a signatory to the Schengen agreement Denmark should allow the free passage of anyone across its borders with Germany and with Sweden via the Øresund bridge.

But as of today Denmark his put up the barriers, a move that is not being well received by the EU.

Under the Schengen agreement, countries allow people to travel from one country to another with no internal border controls. The only border where checks are done is the one between Schengen* and non-Schengen countries.

Although Demark is signed up to the agreement it does have special status in the EC treaty with regard to Title IV (visas, asylum, immigration and other policies related to free movement of persons).

Denmark claims that these border controls, which includes the use of permanent buildings and 50 border staff, are there purely for the prevention of drug trafficking and illegal immigration.

The Danish authorities also claim that this will not hinder the ordinary legitimate flow of people and goods across their borders.

This comes at a time when the situation in North Africa has caused a large movement of people from its troubled states to find a haven elsewhere, many of them heading for Europe. This has placed a strain on those closest to the problem area and new border controls mat be viewed as a way for certain countries to distance themselves from any responsibility to accept these immigrants.

This move by Denmark could encourage other countries to follow suit for the same given reasons, which could effectively end the spirit of the Schengen agreement.

*Schengen countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

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