EU Alarmed: First ID Cards Checks Since 1950s in Sweden and Denmark

Written by | Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

The European Union announced that it would host talks with Germany, Sweden and Denmark about new border checks and controls that have raised controversy throughout the Schengen zone. Brussels promptly decided to organize a meeting following Denmark’s move to introduce spot checks on its border with Germany and Sweden’s introduction of its own controls on incomers from Denmark. Margaritis Schinas, European Commission spokesperson, commented that “the goal of this meeting is to improve coordination between the concerned countries in order to ensure better management of the migratory pressure”. Swedish migration minister, Morgan Johansson, Danish immigration minister, Inger Stoejberg, and Ole Schroder, a German interior ministry official, will represent their countries.

The EU is looking into the legality of Denmark’s and Sweden’s moves, which also include showing travellers’ ID cards – for the first time since 1950s when passport-free travel was introduced. Both countries informed Brussels about their new measures that they had introduced in response to a huge movement of refugees and migrants mainly from Syria. EU Commission spokesperson, Tove Ernst, said that “it appears to be a situation covered by the rules” but the EU’s executive leg ensured that the situation is closely monitored.

A number of European countries, including Germany, Austria and France, have recently taken advantage of the Schengen rules and re-introduced a number of security measures such as border checks citing exceptional circumstances. Sweden, which has accepted the biggest number of refugees and migrants per capita amongst all EU Member States, admitted that it was no longer capable of tackling the uncontrolled influx of asylum seekers through its borders. According to Eurostat, between January and September 2015, EU Member States received more than 812,000 asylum applications. Four countries – Germany, Sweden, Italy, and France – received approximately two-thirds of the block’s asylum applications and granted almost two-thirds of protection status in 2014.

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