Denmark, Sweden extend border controls until November

Nordic neighbours Denmark and Sweden said on Wednesday they will extend temporary checks until November in order to continue controlling the flow of migrants.

In January, Danish police began conducting spot checks at some of the Denmark's 15 border crossings to Germany, where temporary controls are to be extended until November 12.

"In the present situation where we still have not found a viable solution to protect Europe's external borders, I'm glad that we have the possibility of extending the border controls at least until November 12," said Inger Stojberg, minister for immigration and integration.

Sweden's Home Affairs Minister Anders Ygeman told Swedish broadcaster SVT that Stockholm will also prolong its checks until November 11.

The Swedish government introduced the measures in November, citing the European Union's failure to unify behind a single migration policy.

"The EU has recognized Sweden's need for border controls and we can therefore make decisions for longer periods and not just one month at a time," Ygeman told SVT.

The Swedish border controls affect ferry terminals in southern Sweden, where many migrants arrive from Germany and Denmark. Checks are also being conducted on the Oresund rail and road bridge that connects Sweden to Denmark.

Last year, Sweden registered a record 163,000 asylum bids, straining resources and capacity at reception centres and local municipalities.

Meanwhile Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said on Wednesday his country registered 350 asylum bids in May, the lowest monthly tally since February 2012.

In a speech to parliament before the summer recess Rasmussen said the Danish government was ready to act to ensure that the number of asylum seekers remained at "a reasonable level," adding that it was necessary to reduce the numbers from last year's 21,000 bids.

In May, Denmark along with Germany and Sweden and three other countries that belong to Europe's border-free Schengen area requested that the EU executive allow the internal border controls to continue for six more months.

The internal border controls were introduced to stem migration flows, after the arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers overwhelmed authorities.

Last update: Wed, 01/06/2016 - 15:16
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