7 January 2016

For the first time since the introduction of the Nordic Passport Union in 1957, travellers by train, bus or boat entering Sweden from Denmark are now required to present a valid photo ID in a move by the Swedish government to control the number of people crossing into the country. This move by Sweden was followed by the Danish government announcing that it was stepping up the border controls on its southern border with Germany.  

These measures, introduced on 4 January, are an attempt to reduce the number of people seeking asylum arriving in these countries, with Sweden having secured a temporary exemption from the EU’s Schengen Agreement rules after receiving some 160,000 asylum applications in 2015.

The latest temporary border controls led EU Migration Commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos, to call a meeting with Sweden and Denmark on 6 January. Commissioner Avramopoulos said in a press conference after this meeting that all parties ‘agreed that Schengen and free movement must be safeguarded’, and that it had been agreed that the measures taken will be kept to a minimum and return to normal as soon as possible.

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This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 8 January 2016. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.