EU Orders Sweden to Shut Down Border Checks
The European Union has ordered Sweden to end its border controls by mid-November, saying the reasons for putting them into place don't exist anymore.
At a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday, the EU’s migrant commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said it will not allow the Nordic country to extend its border controls between Sweden and Denmark.
“There won’t be an extension. The border controls are coming to an end in two months. The prerequisites for granting [the extensions] don’t exist anymore.”
During the height of Europe’s migrant crisis, Sweden was, along with Denmark, Germany, Austria and Norway, granted an exception from the Schengen free movement clause due to the huge influx of asylum-seeking migrants.
The border controls at ports in the south of Sweden and on the Swedish side of the Öresund Bridge to Denmark were brought in during the winter of 2015, a year where Sweden received a record 163,000 asylum applications.
The measures in the passport-free Schengen zone were only supposed to be temporary and originally designed to last six months, but they were extended by a further half a year in May 2016, then three months more the following November.
According to EU rules, the extension can only be granted three times, and the last one is due to expire on November 12th.
The controls have been unpopular among commuters in the south of Sweden and in the Copenhagen region in Denmark, who have complained that they make journeys across the Öresund Bridge more time consuming.