During a telephone conversation with Danish Foreign Minister Lene Espersen today, Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle voiced his concern that the border checks announced by Denmark could restrict freedom of travel in Europe. Minister Westerwelle indicated that freedom of travel was one of the most important freedoms enjoyed by Europe’s citizens and absolutely must be upheld.
Foreign Minister Espersen gave assurances that Denmark did not intend to carry out checks on individuals. The Danish Government’s plans contravened neither the spirit nor the letter of the Schengen Agreement, she said. The Minister promised to send detailed information on her Government’s plans to the German Government.
Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle issued the following statement in Berlin today (12 May):
“We must not put at risk today the achievements of decades spent developing the European Union for the benefit of all Europeans. Freedom of travel is too great a good to be sacrificed for reasons of domestic politics.
It is a magnificent achievement that all the citizens of the European Union can today travel freely. This is much more than a German-Danish issue; it concerns the civil liberties of the citizens of Europe.
Whether working directly with Denmark or among our EU partners, I will do everything in my power to prevent setbacks on this score.”