The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Berlin to decide again on border controls with Switzerland

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 13 November 2023

UPDATE: Germany is extending border controls with Switzerland. The decision was made on November 6 at a meeting between Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the prime ministers of the federal states, the German authorities announced on Monday.

Germany is likely to decide this week whether to extend controls at the border with Switzerland once again. If this is the case, the controls would probably be extended by three months, as German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser already announced in mid-October.

Berlin to decide again on border controls with Switzerland
At customs between the boarder of Basel, Switzerland and Germany, where the motorway A2 on the Swiss side of the boarder and the A5 in Germany meet. (KEYSTONE / Gaetan Bally.)

“However, this will then be decided depending on the situation,” Faeser made clear at the time. Berlin wants to use border controls to combat irregular immigration and people smuggling.

Berlin had already announced stationary controls at the borders with Poland, the Czech Republic and Switzerland for ten days in mid-October and informed the EU Commission of this.

This is necessary because the Schengen Agreement actually guarantees free travel without systematic identity checks. At the end of October, controls were extended by a further 20 days for Poland, the Czech Republic and Switzerland.

No figures on migrants

However, it is not known whether the border controls have really worked. At the request of the Keystone-SDA news agency, the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bamf) wrote: “The Federal Office does not have any statistical evaluations on this.”

For its part, Switzerland has “expressed its regret about the reintroduction of internal border controls in its contacts with Germany”, as the Federal Office for Migration (SEM) wrote on request. It also pointed out that “negative effects on the closely intertwined border regions should be avoided”.

Meeting at the end of November

At the same time, Germany has always assured that “internal border controls will be carried out with a sense of proportion”. Berlin also promised that the controls would “affect daily border traffic as little as possible”, according to the SEM.

They are in talks with each other – at ministerial level, i.e. between Federal Councillor Elisabeth Baume-Schneider and Interior Minister Faeser, as well as at administrative level.

According to the SEM, talks are also planned with Austria, Germany and France at state secretary level at the end of November to discuss the challenges in the area of secondary migration. “The reintroduction of internal border controls will also be addressed.”

©Keystone/SDA

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