Sweden has begun to implement temporary border controls in the south of the country to cope with an increasing influx of refugees. Anders Ygeman, Minister for Home Affairs, told a press conference in Stockholm on Wednesday evening that border controls would take place on the Öresund Bridge and the ferry terminals in southern Sweden and apply initially for 10 days, after which they could be extended in 20-day periods.
The introduction of border controls means that refugees coming to Sweden face three choices: to return to the country they came from, seek asylum in Sweden or, for those just passing through Sweden, to choose a different route to their final destination, explained police bosses at a follow-up press conference on Thursday at noon.
In practice, it means that police may stop and check the identity of anyone crossing Sweden’s borders, which they are normally only allowed to do if there is a suspicion of any criminal activity. But not everyone will be stopped and checked, said Patrik Engström, head of the police’s border unit. “We’re not going to control all who are travelling across the border, but there is going to be a mainly randomized selection,” he said.
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, speaking to news agency TT from an EU summit in Malta on Wednesday, said Sweden needed “order on our borders. There must be order in our reception of refugees.”
A little late for that, Stefan, but better late than never.
Mikael Hvinlund of the Swedish Migration Board told the press conference that the agency had asked for border controls because it can no longer fulfill its mission. “We can no longer guarantee shelter.”
Don’t worry — that won’t stop them.