Sweden will impose identity checks on travelers from Denmark starting Monday in an effort to tackle the brewing refugee crisis in the country. Passengers entering Sweden through train, bus and ferry will have to show the required documents on the Danish side of the Oresund bridge — a prime route for asylum-seekers to reach the country.
Travelers have been cautioned about delays and long queues once the policy goes into effect from 2300 GMT (6 p.m. EST), Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported. Sweden, which took in over 160,000 asylum-seekers in 2015, is ready to accept more refugees if they are spread out evenly across the country, Per-Arne Andersson, a top official at the Swedish Association of Local and Municipal Governments, said Sunday.
The Oresund bridge connects the Swedish cities of Malmo and Lund with the Danish capital Copenhagen. Railway commuters traveling to Sweden will have to change trains at Copenhagen Airport and go through photo identification checkpoints, according to BBC. The checks are likely to cause a delay of about 30 minutes to the 40-minute commute, the Associated Press reported.
Late December, authorities installed a border rail between Sweden and Denmark at Copenhagen Airport’s Kastrup railway station in an attempt to stop people from crossing the border across the tracks. Rail services to Sweden from Denmark have been reportedly cut down.
"It's as if we are building a Berlin Wall here. We are going several steps back in time," said Michael Randropp, a spokesman for the local Kystbanen commuters' association, according to AFP.
Under the new law, transport companies will be penalized if travelers to Sweden do not have an official photo ID. Sweden has been reportedly given a temporary exemption from the European Union's open-border Schengen agreement to impose the border controls.
Over 1 million migrants and refugees reached Europe in 2015, according to the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations refugee agency. Most arrived from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, fleeing the violence of the Islamic State group. Along with Germany, Sweden is one of the main destinations for refugees. In addition, Denmark is expected to receive about 20,000 asylum-seekers this year.