Germany is boosting passport controls on part of its border with France, a police spokesman said on Wednesday, as the
country seeks to slow a record influx of migrants.
The reinforced controls will be implemented along the border with Alsace, a police spokesman told AFP, in response the refugee crisis.
The move comes days after Germany restored controls along its border with Austria after the arrival of tens of thousands of refugees had pushed authorities to the limit and led the mayor of Munich to say the city was at its “limit”.
While a similar move is not expected on the border with France due to the low numbers of refugees who cross the frontier, German authorities have nevertheless decided to increase their presence.
“In Baden-Wuerttemberg, we have stepped up controls, we are carrying out border checks as the situation requires,” said a federal police spokesman for the southwestern state.
“We are flexible regarding places and times as we carry out border checks.”
The spokesman added that the majority of the 1,900-strong federal police force in the state had been mobilised for the controls, but could not give a specific number.
In recent days the French government has come under pressure to follow the lead of Germany and bring back its borders, especially along its southern frontier with Italy, where hundreds of migrants and refugees enter the country.
While the government has dismissed such a move, the reality is that French police have been sending back hundreds of foreigners to Italy, who are caught without the required legal papers to stay in France.
François Gemenne, specialist on migration from Sciences-Po's Centre of International Research told The Local he wouldn't be surprised if the Socialist government buckled, but that it would undoubtedly be the wrong thing to do.
“I can see France bringing back border controls but it would be the stupidest thing to do,” he said.
“It would be shooting yourself in the foot. The reason why people want borders closed and the end of Schengen has nothing to do with the reality of the refugee crisis in France, but the way Schengen rules are perceived,” he said.
“It would only be to appease public opinion and let the public believe that they won’t be invaded by a huge wave of migrants heading their way,” Gemenne added. “It’s just symbolic.”
“It would clearly not solve the problem. The refugees are in Europe and they will continue to come, you can’t just close the door and tell your neighbour to take care of them.”