German police on patrol outside the stadium prior to a UEFA EURO 2024 gameEPA-EFE/MARTIN DIVISEK


German border controls for Euro 2024 ‘working’ to catch criminals


Germany’s decision to temporarily reintroduce border controls for the ongoing Euro 2024 football championships is “working”, authorities say, with the country having reportedly detained a large number of illegals, suspected criminals and extremists.

Police detected well over 1,000 illegal entries or attempted entries into Germany shortly before the start of the competition on June 16. In total 1,400 unauthorised entries have so far been picked up during border checks.

Some 900 people were barred from entering the country or deported, while 173 people were arrested.

“This shows that our measures are working,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag on June 17.

She added that 19 people caught on the border were wanted by the police for politically motivated crimes, with 34 people smugglers also allegedly being detained.

Germany deployed 22,000 police officers at the borders to ensure security during the European football contest.

Extremist groups, such as the Islamic State (IS), had called for attacks during the tournament and several incidents have reportedly already taken place.

One of those arrested ahead of the championships starting was a suspected IS supporter who had applied, unsuccessfully, to work at Euro 2024 events.

The man — who has German, Moroccan and Polish citizenship — was arrested at Cologne airport on suspicion of having transferred €1,580 to an account belonging to an offshoot of IS, Deutsche Welle said on June 10.

Faeser described the arrest as “a big success” that showed the re-introduced security checks were “obviously working”.

“Our security authorities therefore have the Islamist scene firmly in their sights,” she said, adding that authorities were not currently aware of any specific plots.

Germany also wants to keep out hooligans, who often are known in other countries, and to co-operate with fellow European law-enforcement services to this end. Hundreds of foreign police officers have been deployed in the country for Euro 2024.

Germany is part of the Schengen Agreement covering an area in which internal border checks have largely been abolished.

The Schengen Borders Code allows members to temporarily reintroduce controls at their internal borders in the event of a serious security threat.

Germany anticipates 2.7 million people in total will attend Euro 24 matches in stadiums across its territory and another 12 million in fan zones for outdoor watching.

Amid ongoing wars in Ukraine and Gaza, authorities are fearful of violent incidents.

Already, fans from Romania have been heard taunting Ukrainians by chanting in favour of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Serbian fans have been seen doing the same thing.

The enhanced controls cover Germany’s borders with Denmark, France and the Benelux countries, with travellers from the Schengen area now expecting to be checked at airports and ports.

The controls are in force until July 19 – a few days after the Euro 2024 final.