Decision made: Germany extends border controls with Austria by two weeks
1:54 p.m., March 17, 2021
Germany is extending its inpatient controls at the border with Tyrol and the Czech Republic by another two weeks. That divided Spokesman for the German Ministry of the Interior on Wednesday on request. The German Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer (CSU) told the “Münchner Merkur”: “We hope that we can end the controls on Austria a little earlier, maybe even in the course of March.”
To this end, the measures to protect against infection and contain the mutated virus in Tyrol will be closely monitored, said Seehofer. Seehofer will meet the Federal Chancellor on Thursday Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) in Berlin.
The situation remains more difficult on the German-Czech border. Seehofer emphasized that due to the extremely high number of infections in the Czech Republic, there has been no relaxation there so far.
In principle, the interior minister defended the controls. “Identifying outbreak sites and breaking chains of infection is one of the most important responses in a pandemic. Failure to do so leads to a rude awakening.” The movement of goods was never stopped, and commuters continued to cross the border.
“It is really not unreasonable to ask for a negative test in a pandemic,” said Seehofer. The stationary controls are designed in such a way that there are no significant traffic jams. “These are no longer the old barrier controls, but highly intelligent control processes,” emphasized the minister.
Bavaria for the end of the controls
Deputy Prime Minister of Bavaria Hubert Aiwanger (Free voters) had previously spoken out in favor of an end to border controls. He referred to the “Tiroler Tageszeitung” (Wednesday edition) that the border region was a common economic area. “Therefore, Berlin must at least lift the border controls by March 17th,” he demanded. He also sent this message to the Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) passed on.
Recently, the mood between Bavaria and Tyrol was tense due to the border controls. There had been repeated complaints about harassment on the Bavarian-Tyrolean border. Last but not least, the Bavarian State Chancellery, Governor Günther Platter (ÖVP) refused to pass through Germany. His professional trip to Vienna to see Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) would not fall under “any of the defined exceptions,” it said. Aiwanger said there was “no question of harassment”.
LH Platter wants opening
Governor of Tyrol Günther Platter (ÖVP) reacted with sharp words to the extension of the border controls to Tyrol announced by Germany. Tyrol was “deliberately pilloried,” said Platter in a broadcast and again pointed out the comparatively much higher proportion of South Africa in the German Saarland. In addition, the governor saw the European Commission and the Austrian federal government have an obligation.
“I expect the European Commission and the Austrian Federal Government to end this unjustified harassment against Tyrol and that Germany will end these controls immediately,” demanded Platter. The decision to extend the border controls is “not justifiable by anything”. Platter again pointed out that only 3.5 percent of all Covid infections in Tyrol can be traced back to the South African variant. Even before the German decision, he had referred to the situation in Saarland with the APA, where South Africa’s share is already over 15 percent, four times as high as in Tyrol. He also alluded to Germany’s waiver of strict control measures for the directly adjacent French region of Moselle.
The Tyrolean Greens, Platters coalition partner, were also very critical and saw Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) in particular now have an obligation.