Drivers are being checked at the border with the Czech Republic and Tyrol due to concerns about the more contagious coronavirus variants. At the border with Moselle, they do not want to do it that way for the time being. Why?
Berlin (dpa) – Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer (CSU) also refrains from stationary checks at the border of the French virus variant Moselle because of the attitude of the prime ministers in Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate.
Within the federal government, Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas (SPD), among others, spoke out against such checks.
When asked why the procedure here was not the same as at the border with the Czech Republic and the Austrian federal state of Tyrol, a spokesman for the Federal Ministry of the Interior answered Monday in Berlin: “The situation is not comparable. In the French state structure, Moselle is a smaller administrative unit within the Grand Est region. For practical reasons, this should be taken into account when reintroducing border controls. In addition, such measures would always be closely coordinated with the Länder concerned. Unlike Saxony and Bavaria, the Länder concerned at the French border did not consider the reintroduction of controls necessary at the moment.
Maas told the German news agency: “Hardly any other region is so characterized by cross-border living and working as that between the Saar and Moselle. I therefore only approved the measures on the condition that there are no new border controls. Seehofer makes formal decisions about border controls. However, the issue had recently been raised several times in the cabinet. To prevent nuisance in the border regions, Seehofer had also sought a meeting with the heads of government of the border states.
On Sunday, the federal government classified the Moselle department, which borders Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate, with its approximately one million inhabitants, as a virus variant area as of Tuesday. Linked to this is, in particular, a stricter inspection requirement for travelers and a ban on public transport, to which, however, there are exceptions. However, no stationary checks are allowed, such as at the border with the Czech Republic or the Austrian federal state of Tyrol. Instead, as before, spot checks should be carried out behind the border.
The Committee for Cross-Border Cooperation is due to explain the details on Monday. Maas and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian already agreed on Friday. “We have been in constant contact with our French colleagues at all levels for days to find pragmatic solutions and to keep the stress in everyday life under control,” says Maas, who is a Saarland native himself. “Nevertheless, mutation control is another difficult test for the people of the region.”
The South African variant of the coronavirus has spread in the Moselle in recent weeks. According to Prime Minister Jean Castex, it already accounts for 60 percent of positive cases in the department. According to official information, the share in Germany is only one percent. The number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days in the Moselle was recently just under 300. In Saarland, on the other hand, there are only 73, in Rhineland-Palatinate even 49. With the Moselle, 16 countries and regions abroad will be considered virus variant areas from Tuesday.
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