The Danish agreement on customs control
The Danish agreement aims first and foremost at enhancing customs control and it is important to stress that the agreement is not about passport control. Denmark is convinced that the agreement is fully compliant with Denmark’s EU obligations. During the implementation phase the government will pay close attention to these obligations. Moreover, Denmark intends to continue a dialogue with the European Commission about the practical implementation of the agreement.
On May 11 2011 the Danish Government and the Danish Peoples Party concluded an agreement on strengthening the customs border controls in Denmark.
In the light of the interest in the international press the Danish Minister of Taxation Mr. Peter Christensen and the Danish Minister of Justice Mr. Lars Barfoed state:
“The agreement aims first and foremost at enhancing customs control and implies increased controls in relation to the smuggling into Denmark of mainly goods and items.
The agreement also implies a strengthening of policing in order to enable the Danish police to act upon specific requests from customs officers. However, this does not mean that the Danish police will be permanently present at the border.
It also is important to bear in mind that the agreement in no way implies that the police will carry out checks on individuals at the Danish border, just as there is no question of introducing passport control in relation to the other Schengen States.
During the negotiations, the Danish Government has paid close attention to ensuring that the agreement is fully compliant with Denmark’s EU obligations. The government will naturally continue to do so during the implementation phase.
The Danish Government and the relevant authorities are engaged in a dialogue with the Commission about the practical implementation of the agreement. A meeting between the Commission and the Danish Government has been held in order to clarify a number of points where misunderstandings might have occurred regarding the precise nature of the Danish efforts to enhance customs control. The Danish Government will provide the Commission with further information and expects the dialogue to continue.”
The content of the agreement
Additional 98 man-years
The agreement will be implemented gradually in the coming years and will probably be in full effect by the end of 2013 or in the beginning of 2014. The number of customs officers at the borders will be increased by a total of 98 man-years. This means 50 man-years in 2011, and an additional 48 man-years in 2012. The total geographical distribution of the increased force will not be finally determined until the autumn of 2011.
The agreement also provides for building and expansion of certain road facilities when crossing the border to Denmark. Adjustments of the road conditions and construction of proper facilities will help create better conditions for both travellers, road-users and the customs officers. All road equipment will be constructed with a high focus on the safety on persons and traffic while ensuring flexible and efficient handling of traffic.
The agreement entails permanent customs control in the sense that the new customs control buildings will be permanent and the allocation of new resources will also be of a permanent nature. Moreover, the agreement implies a daily presence of customs officers.
However, it does not in any way imply that every person or vehicle that passes the border will be subject to a customs check. The increased control will be carried out as today, i.e. based on traditional criteria for customs control, such as risk analysis and threat assessments, and, in order to maintain and ensure the analytical framework, controls will also be carried out as spot checks.
Video surveillance of number plates
As a part of the agreement video surveillance will be directed at number plates. Technically, the video surveillance will be targeted at vehicles passing the border by recording pictures of number plates. The overriding purpose of the video surveillance is to serve as a proactive tool for subsequent police investigations. The video surveillance system is yet to be developed in practice, and during the implementation phase, due attention will be paid to ensuring compliance with the relevant EU-law.
Contact: Press line in the Ministry of Taxation at +45 72 37 09 00 or the press adviser in the Ministry of Justice Emil Melchior at +45 40 37 67 37.