Sweden sets up border controls amid refugee crisis

Published November 12th, 2015 - 02:18 GMT

Sweden introduced temporary border controls on Thursday to cope with an increase in the flow of migrants.

The Swedish government said it implemented the 10-day border controls because a surge in new arrivals in the ongoing European migrant crisis has threatened public order.

The border checks began on the Öresund Bridge, which connects Sweden and Denmark, and ferry terminals in southern Sweden. The border controls came at the request of Sweden's Migration Agency and can be extended for 20-day periods.

About 20,000 cars travel the Öresund Bridge daily so not all cars will be checked, Swedish border police head Patrik Engström said.

"We're not going to control all who are traveling across the border, but there is going to be a mainly randomized selection," Engström told Sweden's The Local. "There are certain traffic intensive areas, like the Öresund Bridge, where we cannot check everyone."

Migrants going to Sweden must now either return to the country they came from or seek asylum in Sweden. For those who planned to go through Sweden to reach a final destination, they must choose a different route.

Swedish police now have the authority to stop and check the identity of anyone crossing the border, where previously they could only do so if criminal activity was suspected. Nearly 200,000 migrants are expected to reach Sweden in 2015.

At a summit in Malta where the European Union agreed to establish a $1.93 billion fund to help Africa tackle the "root causes of irregular immigration, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said the migrant crisis affected the EU collectively.

"This is not an issue for one or two or three countries -- this is an issue for the whole European Union," Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said at the Malta talks. "We need another system -- that is obvious."

About 52 percent of the estimated more than 750,000 migrants that have entered European Union member states are Syrians, followed by migrants from Afghanistan (19 percent), Iraq (6 percent) and Eritrea (5 percent). About 65 percent of migrants are men, 20 percent are children and 14 percent are women.

By Andrew V. Pestano

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