Denmark, Sweden introduce border controls to stem migrant flow

Published: Monday 4th January 2016 by The News Editor

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Denmark has tightened controls at its border with Germany just hours after neighbouring Sweden introduced similar measures to stem the flow of migrants.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmusssen told reporters in Copenhagen that police are conducting spot checks on travellers crossing the border from Germany.

“We are introducing temporary border controls, but in a balanced way,” Mr Rasmussen said, adding there would be no problem for “ordinary” Danes and Germans to cross the border.

It was the latest move by a European Union country to suspend an agreement to keep internal borders open after one million migrants entered the bloc in 2015.

“If the European Union cannot protect the external border you will see more and more countries forced to introduce temporary border controls,” the Danish prime minister said.

He said the Danish move was in response to new ID checks introduced by Sweden on Monday for all passengers entering the country by train, bus or ferry.

To comply with the new Swedish rules, passengers are having to show identification to board trains departing from Copenhagen Airport to Sweden across a bridge-and-tunnel link.

Danish officials have criticised the move and suggested Sweden should pay for the cost of the ID checks.

The Swedish government decided to tighten border controls after 160,000 people applied for asylum in Sweden last year – the highest number in Europe except for Germany. Most of them were from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

German officials have not commented directly on the Danish decision, but Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert said Mr Rasmussen had spoken with the German leader.

Germany introduced border controls of its own on the Austrian frontier in mid-September and Mr Seibert said those have been successful – “but it is clear to all of us in Europe … that we need an overall European solution. The solution won’t be found at national borders between country A and country B”.

He renewed calls for “effective protection of our EU external borders”.

Published: Monday 4th January 2016 by The News Editor

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