- Ministers called to Brussels
- Denmark brings back border controls
- Follows decision by Sweden
- Analysts say Schengen under threat
Government ministers from Denmark, Sweden and Germany have been called to Brussels for a meeting on Wednesday.
The European Commission wants them to collaborate more in resolving migration and border issues which, it is feared, are calling the fundamental principal of free movement of people, or Schengen Area:http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/borders-and-visas/schengen/index_en.htm, into question.
News of the meeting was announced on Tuesday.
Denmark reinstates border controls
Denmark has imposed temporary identity checks on its border with Sweden.
Officials say the controls will last for ten days, but can be extended.
It follows a similar decision by Sweden, which began checking documents on the Oresund Bridge, Europe’s longest combined road and rail crossing.
Denmark’s prime minister says Sweden’s decision gave his country no option but to impose its own border controls.
Lars Lokke Rasmussen appealed to the EU to take “collective decisions” to better protect its external borders against the tide of migrants.
Facing growing numbers of migrants, Sweden re-introduced border controls in mid-November.
Since 4th January, checks have also been brought in on trains and coaches crossing the Oresund Bridge from Denmark.
AFP Nordic (@AFPNordic) January 5, 2016
The Swedish police say numbers have already dropped.
Germany re-introduced some border controls, primarily along its border with Austria, in mid-September.
Last year, an estimated 163,000 refugees sought asylum in Sweden. This is the largest number for any EU country relative to its population.
With 10,000 arriving a week in November, mostly travelling through Denmark, the Swedish government says it is time to tighten the rules.
More than a million migrants fleeing conflict in the Middle East and beyond sought shelter in Europe in 2015.
Why is this news?
Commentators say the decisions deal a double blow to Europe’s fraying passport-free Schengen Area as it attempts to deal with a record influx of migrants.
The unprecedented numbers have strained the EU’s free movement policy to breaking point.
Several countries have temporarily re-introduced border controls.
The decision also has important domestic implications. Around 15,000 commuters cross the strait between Sweden and Denmark every day.
Denmark’s state-owned rail operator estimates the ID controls will cost the company nearly one million Danish crowns (around 750,000 euros) a day.
Danish employers fear fewer Swedes will want to cross the bridge to work in Denmark as a result of the new rules.
There are concerns that businesses in Sweden’s Skane region and in Copenhagen with be impacted.
What they are saying
“Schengen is vital for our country” – German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
A dark day for our Nordic region with Sweden introducing ID controls for travellers from Denmark. pic.twitter.com/ZX5uAQpZbD— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) January 4, 2016
“A dark day for our Nordic region” – former Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt.