Denmark has imposed temporary identity checks on its border with Germany following a similar move by Sweden. Both are designed to stem the flow of migrants who don’t have ID papers, but it’s another blow to Europe’s unraveling passport-free Schengen area.
Denmark said it had no option but to impose border checks, not everyone agrees. Some travellers have expressed contempt for the move. “ The controls are absurd and contra-productive,” said one man. “They have made a billion krone investment into the infrastructure and now they are building up new barriers again.”
With new controls on Sweden’s border, Denmark rushed to prevent thousands of migrants arriving from Germany from becoming stuck in Denmark, unable to travel onto Sweden.
The Swedish checks have already caused major delays for trains and buses crossing the Oresund Bridge which connects Sweden to Denmark. For commuters it has become another challenge on the route to work:
“I think it creates a lot of uncertainty. Uncertainty about how long time it is going to take to get to work, etc., and its becoming congested. It a lot of stress for commuters who work on the other side of the bridge.”
Last year some 163,000 refugees sought asylum in Sweden, the largest number for any EU country relative to its population. With arrivals running at around 10,000 a week in November , Stockholm is now saying enough is enough.
Denmark has called for the European Union to take collective decisions and to improve protection of its external borders.