0532 GMT October 23, 2019
The Swedish government on Monday warned travelers to expect long queues on the Danish side of the Oresund bridge-and-tunnel link, which has been a major entry point for refugees.
Rail commuters heading to the country will have to change trains at the Copenhagen Airport and go through ID checkpoints. It is the first time in over half a century that the travelers between the two Nordic countries will have to provide travel documents.
“The government now considers that the current situation, with a large number of people entering the country in a relatively short time, poses a serious threat to public order and national security,” the government said in a statement on Monday.
A temporary fence has already been erected at the Copenhagen Airport’s Kastrup station to prevent people from trying to slip across the tracks.
Michael Randropp, a spokesman for the local Kystbanen commuters’ association denounced the move, saying, “It’s as if we are building a Berlin Wall here. We are going several steps back in time.”
Sweden received almost 163,000 refugee applications in 2015. Only in fall last year, applications were running at 10,000 weekly. Stockholm, however, said it will reduce the flow to around 1,000 a week in 2016. Along with Germany, it is one of the main destinations for the refugees fleeing war and violence in the Middle East and North Africa.
European countries are concerned that terrorists may enter them disguised as refugees. Those concerns were exacerbated in the wake of deadly November 2015 attacks in France, where 130 people were killed in a string of terrorist attacks claimed by Daesh elements, some of whom reportedly had Syrian passports.
European Union countries, including Germany, Austria and France, also re-imposed border checks in 2015 to reduce the influx of refugees. Denmark, however, expects to receive about 20,000 refugees this year.
More than one million refugees have reached Europe in 2015, according to the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR. Almost 50 percent of them were fleeing war and violence in Syria and about 21 percent were from Afghanistan.