A Dutch court has ruled that controls along the German and Belgian borders violate European legislation.
The court in the southern town of Den Bosch concluded that the current controls closely resemble regular border checks, which were abolished under the 1984 Schengen Agreement. Prime Minister Mark Rutte's conservative government stepped up border controls in June 2011 in response to the increased influx of people fleeing violence in northern Africa, prompted by the Arab Spring.
The court ruled that even controls aimed at intercepting illegal immigrants or drug traffickers are a breach of European rules. Around 1,500 illegal immigrants were detained during such raids last year alone. The Public Prosecution Service and the foreign ministry say they will study the ruling before deciding what steps to take. In the meantime, the border controls will continue.
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