German foreign minister rules out controls at French border

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said there would be no routine border checks at the French-German border despite fears over mutated versions of the coronavirus spreading from France’s Moselle region.

On Sunday, German health authorities designated the Moselle region as a “high risk” zone because of the prevalence of more contagious coronavirus variants, and said tougher border restrictions would be imposed beginning Tuesday.

The measures will include a stricter testing regime, but in comments to the German press agency DPA on Monday Maas ruled out border controls.

“Hardly any region is characterized so profoundly by cross-border living and working as the one between the Saar and the Moselle,” Maas said, referring to two rivers in the border region. “I have therefore only agreed to the measures on the condition that there are no renewed border controls.”

Germany reintroduced border controls last month on its borders with Austria’s Tyrol region and the Czech Republic, prompting criticism from locals as well as the European Commission.

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer dismissed criticism from Brussels at the time. “The EU Commission should support us and not put spokes in our wheels with cheap advice,” he said.

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