Effects of the reintroduction of border controls: the example of Strasbourg-KehlMay 2016
Intended to form an integrated urban entity within the framework of the "Two Banks" initiative structured around a tramline, which is scheduled to start running in 2017, the cities of Strasbourg and Kehl constitute an interesting barometer for the consequences of the reintroduction of controls along the French-German border.
A considerable lengthening of transit times at the border, delays in cross-border public transport, fewer visits to retailers, but also a fall in petty crime are the main effects of the reintroduction between November and December 2015 of checks on inflows and outflows at the border. Initially carried out jointly with the German police, since January 2016 border controls have only been kept in place for road traffic over the Pont de l’Europe at the entry point to French territory.
However, they have not called into question or weakened the links and cooperation projects between Strasbourg and Kehl, which, on the contrary, have been reaffirmed by local leaders. Although they are well accepted by the population, these checks nonetheless raise questions due to their discontinuous geographical nature and the feeling they have given rise to of activities and mobility, both professional and residential, between the two cities being penalised. Against this backdrop, the issue of the reception of refugees, nearly a thousand of which will be located in the municipalities of Strasbourg and Kehl, but distributed very unequally, takes on particular importance. The creation in the Strasbourg-Ortenau Eurodistrict of a fund for refugee children, which was the first cross-border initiative of this type and was an immediate success, was an appropriate response to the new challenges.
Photo: French-German border checks on the Pont de l’Europe next to the new bridge for the tramline which is in the process of being completed (December 2015).Back to list