As city after city across Germany announced it had no more room for the tens of thousands of refugees pouring into the country, and the mayor of Munich warned that new arrivals would soon be sleeping in the streets, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government announced it was reimposing controls on its border with Austria.
All train services between the two countries were stopped at 5pm local time (4pm BST), and hundreds of police were on their way to secure the border.
“The aim of this measure is to limit the current flow to Germany and restore an orderly process,” Thomas de Maiziere, the German interior minister, said in a terse statement in Berlin.
Within hours, the Czech Republic announced that it was imposing similar measures on its own border with Austria.
I don’t know about the Czech border with Austria but I’ve spent some good part of the past few years running over the Czech border with Germany: just south of Dresden, running along towards Chemnitz. Yes, back in the day it was a heavily defended and controlled border. But the manpower required to do it was immense. For the region has been heavily inhabited, and with no border running through it, for centuries. Meaning there’s all sorts of paths, tracks, cycle routes, little back roads, that go over the border.
To say nothing of fields and forests that simply extend over said border. And where we are the border is the ridge line, meaning that the crossings are limited by “passes” (OK, it’s only 600 – 800 metre climb, but still). An actual secure border would be hugely difficult to achieve.
You could, obviously, reduce the flow. But seal? Not without a great deal of manpower you couldn’t.