Sweden ‘in talks to close Öresund bridge to Denmark’

SWEDEN’s government is currently in talks over plans to close the bridge connecting the country with Denmark if its refugee intake continues to grow.

The bridge links Sweden and Denmark. Picture: Wiki Commons
The bridge links Sweden and Denmark. Picture: Wiki Commons

The Öresund Bridge connects Danish capital Copenhagen with Sweden’s third-largest city, Malmö.

Sweden’s Dagens Industri newspaper reports that the country’s government is working on a proposal outlining measures to deal with an ‘unprecedented intake’ of asylum seekers.

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A document seen by the newspaper reads: “The Öresund Bridge is one of Sweden’s most important and busiest connections to another country, Denmark.

Kim Bodnia as Martin Rohde and Sofia Helin as Saga Norén in popular BBC Four Nordic Noir drama The Bridge. Picture: Contributed

“A temporary closure of the bridge can provide another measure to reduce the risk that public order or internal security is affected as a result of the large influx of asylum seekers.”

The document has reportedly been given to the Swedish Council on Legislation for evaulation before being passed to Parliament if it is deemed legally valid.

The document adds: “The number of asylum applications continues to be at a level that makes the situtation such that from a broad perspective a serious threat to public order and internal security in Sweden remains.”

Denmark has employed a tougher stance on asylum claims than its neighbour, but Sweden’s prime minister Stefan Löfven last week announced that the country would be ‘drastically tightening’ its asylum laws.

Löfven said: “It pains me that Sweden is no longer capable of receiving asylum seekers at the high level we do today.

“We simply cannot do any more.”

Löfven’s deputy Åsa Romson broke down in tears at a press conference announcing the country’s U-turn on its asylum policy.

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Sweden’s decision sent shockwaves through its neighbours, with Norwegian prime minister Erna Solberg telling the NRK broadcaster that there would be ‘repercussions for Norway’.

Norway also announced that it would be stepping up border controls on land as well as on ferries arriving from Sweden, Denmark and Germany.

Denmark also criticised Sweden’s introduction of border controls last month, following a visit by Löfven to border police in Malmö.

Danish Minister for Intergration Inger Støjberg said that it was too early to form conclusions on the effectiveness of Swedish border controls but had earlier claimed: “We will be forced to register people arriving [in Denmark].”

More than 80,000 people have applied for ayslum in Sweden in the last two months.

The Nordic Passport Union and the Schengen Agreement allows passage between the two countries across the bridge which straddles the Sweden-Denmark border, usually without passport checks.

Comprising a double-track railway line and motorway, the five-mile-long bridge is the longest combined rail and road bridge in Europe, and features in the BBC Four Nordic Noir series ‘The Bridge’ or Bron/Broen.

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It is used by over 30,000 commuters each day and was opened in July 2000.