Czech Republic protests German border controls

15-06-2006

All eyes are on the World Cup in Germany at the moment, and while the Czech Republic and the hosts could face each other in the quarterfinals, the two countries' diplomats have already clashed, after Germany turned away some Czech fans travelling to the World Cup at the border.

Photo: CTKPhoto: CTK Twenty-nine-year old Petr was one of tens of thousands of Czech fans who set off for Gelsenkirchen to watch the Czech Republic's opening match against the USA on Monday. But he only got as far as the border crossing. This is what he told Czech Television.

"The police asked us to prove we had a daily limit of 30 euros to be let into Germany. We did not have that amount on us because we had our own food supplies so there was no reason for it."

The Czech media have reported that around three dozen other Czech fans have also missed matches in Germany after being turned back by the German border police.

Petr is not the only one who says he wasn't allowed to cross the border because he failed to prove he had enough money to cover his stay. On Wednesday, a Czech consul in Berlin handed over a note to the German Foreign Ministry pointing out that Germany was violating EU rules by demanding that Czechs, EU members for two years now, show they have sufficient means to cover the cost of their stay. Czech Foreign Ministry spokesman Richard Krpac.

"EU member states may demand such proof from the citizens of third countries but between European Union countries it is out of the question. That said, there are exceptions to free movement of persons, such as for reasons of public order, security and health."

Photo: CTKPhoto: CTK The German side replied promptly, saying there had been only a few isolated cases of denied entry - and not because of lack of cash. They say the actual reason was security.

Eva Haukova is a spokeswoman for the north Bohemian foreign and border police.

"The reason they gave us was that these people are known to have committed crimes connected to hooliganism in Germany."

The Czech police say they did not provide their counterparts with a list of potential troublemakers. So if German police do have such names the must have come from other sources, for example FIFA or Interpol.

15-06-2006

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