Sweden plans to close Oresund Bridge to control refugee flow

Swedish government has written proposal related to closing Oresund Bridge between Sweden, Denmark for controlling refugee flow into country

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The Oresund bridge is pictured from Lernacken on the Swedish side of the Oresund strait November 12, 2015

Sweden’s center-left government has prepared a proposal that would allow it to close the Oresund Bridge between Sweden and Denmark to deal with the ongoing refugee flow into the country.

A spokeswoman for the infrastructure minister announced the government has not completed the proposal that would also include legislation which would require identity checks for all public transportation to decrease the number of refugees.

The plan would allow the government to temporarily close road traffic on the bridge and on other roads in Sweden, stated the spokeswoman.

The Infrastructure Minister Anna Johansson said to the local news agency Tidningarnas Telegrambyra that the plan would be a very dramatic precaution and that it would only be actualised in an emergency situation.

“Our intent and our hope is that we will not have to use this legal possibility,” Johansson said.

Johansson's press secretary Elin Tibell told Dagens Industri on Thursday "This bill, if passed, would give the government an opportunity to in an emergency close the bridge without having to go through parliament, which would take too long."

According to documents that were published by the Sweden’s Dagens Industri newspaper, they can provide other measures to minimise the risk that public policy or internal security is faced with due to the large influx of refugees.  

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

The Oresund Bridge is about 16 km long and is a rail link between Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, and Sweden’s third largest city, Malmo. Nearly 20,000 motor vehicles use the bridge per day.

Sweden introduced large-scale border checks in November, to slow down the flow of asylum seekers, but they were later seen as ineffective by the government.

190,000 asylum seekers are expected to reach the Swedish borders this year and 170,000 are expected for next year.

Over the last two months, around 80,000 refugees have arrived in the Scandinavian country, which has presented itself as a humanitarian superpower and the Swedish Migration Agency said earlier in November that they can not guarantee accommodation for all.

The country with 9.5 million population takes more refugees per capita than the rest of the EU countries.

TRTWorld and agencies