Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Sweden, Denmark Impose Border Controls. New Stress on EU Openness?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Sweden, Denmark Impose Border Controls. New Stress on EU Openness?

Article excerpt

The decision by Denmark and Sweden on Monday to enforce tighter border controls presents the latest threat to Europe's system of passport-free travel between countries.

While Sweden warned weeks ago that it would impose border checks, Denmark's announcement that it would follow suit was more sudden. The moves by the two Scandinavian countries come amid growing concerns about the economic and security risks posed by the tide of migrants.

"We cannot deprive people of their rights to seek asylum," Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said on Monday, the Associated Press reports. "But we can make sure that those who do not have legal reasons to come to Denmark are turned away at the border."

Mr. Lokke Rasmussen said the move was in response to the new ID checks introduced by Sweden for all passengers entering the country from Denmark by train, bus, or ferry. Denmark, in turn, is beefing up checks along its southern border with Germany, fearful that it would become the new destination for migrants unable to reach Sweden.

Sweden's parliament passed legislation that allows its new border controls to stay in place for three years, The New York Times reports. The controls in Denmark are scheduled to last for 10 days, with the possibility of extending them for another 20.

The moves were the latest taken by European Union countries to suspend the Schengen agreement, which allows for the freedom of movement across most European Union countries, after 1 million migrants entered the 28-nation bloc in 2015.

Germany's Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer told reporters in Berlin on Monday that the Schengen agreement is "perhaps one of the greatest achievements in the last 60 years." But he added that "it's in danger due to the flow of refugees."

The Swedish government initially had a welcoming attitude to migrants from conflict-ridden countries such as Afghanistan or Syria, The Christian Science Monitor reported in September. …

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