Sweden, Denmark extend border checks to control migrant flow

Nordic neighbours Denmark and Sweden announced on Thursday they were extending temporary border checks until April to control the flow of migrants.

"Europe has failed in its task of securing its outer borders," Swedish Home Affairs Minister Anders Ygeman said after a cabinet meeting.

The Swedish government said Europe's failure to unify behind a single migration policy impacted its decision to extend temporary border controls, introduced in November, to April 8.

"Until we see a joint European solution, Sweden is forced to deploy short-term national measures," he added.

Neighbouring Denmark followed suit, saying its temporary controls along the country's border with Germany would be extended until April 3.

"There are still large flows of people to Europe and we are forced to maintain the checks," said Inger Stojberg, Denmark's minister for immigration and integration.

Danish police began to conduct spot checks at some of the country's 15 border crossings to Germany in January.

The Swedish border controls affect ferry terminals in southern Sweden, where many travellers arrive from Germany and Denmark. Spot checks were also conducted on the Oresund rail and road bridge that connects Sweden to Denmark, used by thousands of vehicles and commuters.

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

In addition to the border controls, Sweden has announced plans to tighten rules for asylum seekers, for instance no longer giving permanent residency to all people granted refuge.

Sweden - a country of almost 10 million - has along with Germany and Austria been among the top destinations in Europe for people fleeing conflict in countries such as Syria and Iraq.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49
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