• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Refugee crisis
Is Sweden closing its borders? (no, it's not)
Refugees arriving in Trelleborg on the ferry from Germany. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

Is Sweden closing its borders? (no, it's not)

Emma Löfgren · 12 Nov 2015, 13:11

Published: 12 Nov 2015 11:42 GMT+01:00
Updated: 12 Nov 2015 13:11 GMT+01:00

1. What has happened?

Sweden announced on Wednesday that it would implement temporary border controls for an initial ten-day period that could be extended in 20-day periods. It followed similar moves by countries such as Germany and France – which Sweden had so far resisted – and came after a formal request from the Migration Agency which said it was no longer able to guarantee shelter for refugees.

2. Is Sweden closing its borders?

No. People will not be prevented from entering Sweden as long as they are carrying a valid passport or ID documents. But it does mean that refugees now face three choices: to return to the country they came from, seek asylum in Sweden or, for those just passing through – usually en route to Norway or Finland – to choose a different route to their final destination.

3. How is it going to affect refugee numbers?

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said that the reason behind the temporary checks is to restore "order on our borders" in a country which is expected to receive up to 190,000 refugees in 2015. But some experts claim that it could actually increase the number instead.

"Paradoxically, those who do not want to seek asylum in Sweden and are perhaps heading to Finland or Norway will be forced to find another route past Sweden. Then there's the risk – or chance – that they seek asylum in Sweden instead. Then the border controls are going to have the opposite effect," Robert Hårdh, head of human rights organization Civil Rights Defenders, told the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper on Thursday.

4. How exactly do the controls work?

The Schengen open borders agreement saw border checks abolished between most EU countries, and travellers can move between them without showing their passports. However, the agreement does allow a country to reinstate controls temporarily if there is a serious threat to its "public policy or internal security".

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. Sweden has implemented temporary border controls before, for example following the terror attack on Norway's Utøya island in 2011.

5. How will it affect tourists and commuters?

First of all, remember to bring your passports or, if you are an EU citizen, your national identity card if you are crossing the border. Nordic citizens are still allowed to cross the border without a passport, under a passport free zone agreement separate to Schengen, but must be able to identify themselves as such (so, bring your documents).

If you're one of the more than 30,000 commuters travelling across the Öresund bridge between Malmö and Copenhagen by car and train every day you are likely to face some delays. But only randomized controls will be carried out; it would be near impossible to check everyone in such a traffic intensive area.

"We're working together with the police and hope things are going to run as smoothly as possible," Öresund Bridge press spokesperson Sanna Holmqvist told the TT newswire on Thursday.

Story continues below…

6. How are Sweden's neighbours reacting?

Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said his country would not be following suit. "It would with certainty mean that we would have more, not fewer, asylum seekers in Denmark," he told TV2 News. But he added that he did not consider Sweden's decision "an unfriendly act" towards his country.

READ ALSO: Calls for border controls in Denmark

Meanwhile, Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg welcomed the decision. "If it means that you can better control those who arrive, that's for the better," she told the Expressen tabloid.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Emma Löfgren (emma.lofgren@thelocal.com)

Today's headlines
Brexit vote
Swedish stock market plummets in Brexit aftermath
The Stockholm Stock Exchange felt the full force of Brexit on Monday morning. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

Monday is the first day of trading in Sweden since Britain voted to leave the European Union, and negative effects are already being felt, with stocks down by almost five percent at lunchtime.

Brexit: Sweden’s leaders meet for talks about 'our friend'
Ebba Busch Thor outside the PM's office before Monday morning's talks. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

“The UK is our friend and we have to respect the decision.”

Why this Swedish canal was filled with dead rats
Malmö's canals were not for the squeamish on Sunday. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

The canals of Kungsparken in southern Swedish city Malmö were filled with unwelcome guests at the weekend.

Brexit vote
Poll: Sweden still wants to stay in EU after Brexit vote
Most Swedes polled don't want a referendum on EU membership. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

A post-Brexit poll shows that the majority of Swedes would still vote to stay in the EU.

My Swedish Career
'I was only supposed to stay in Sweden for a few months'
Dan Paech, the founder of Run With Me Stockholm. Photo: Private

Meet Dan Paech, 31, the Australian who found his entrepreneurial path in Stockholm.

Sweden murder probe after refugee centre death
One person had been detained and other potential witnesses were being questioned. Photo: TT

Swedish police on Sunday launched a murder investigation after a young woman was found dead at a shelter housing asylum-seekers.

Sweden trials electrified highway for trucks
The truck draws power as it moves at speeds of up to 90km/h (56mph) while putting out no emissions. Photo: Scania AB

The Swedish truck firm Scania, in partnership with German engineering company, Siemens, is developing the world’s first “eHighway”, a four kilometre stretch of highway north of Stockholm.

Brexit vote
Sweden opposition cools talk of 'Swexit' poll
Anna Kinberg Batra, of the largest opposition party, the Moderates. Photo: TT

"This is a sad day for the British and for Europe."

Brexit vote
Swedish PM swats aside calls for EU renegotiation
"Sweden will now lose an important partner in the EU," Löfven said. Photo: TT

Left Party calls "totally irresponsible."

Brexit vote
'Devastated' - Brits in Sweden shocked by Brexit vote

Expat Brits in Sweden have reacted with shock, despair and uncertainty to the result of the EU referendum in the UK which was won 52-48 by the Leave campaign.

Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
Private
The Local Voices
'Swedes don't treat me differently because I wear a hijab'
Sponsored Article
How to find student housing in Malmö: 5 tips
Culture
How do Swedes celebrate Midsummer?
Culture
Coming soon: Sweden’s smelly fermented fish
Blog updates

17 June

Queen’s Birthday Stockholm 2016: 9th June. 90th Birthday. 900 Guests! (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"What do you do when you read that the Queen’s 90th Birthday in London will be…" READ »

 

10 June

i lördags, på lördag – time phrases for present, past and future (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! Swedish time phrases can be difficult to master. It takes a lot of practice to…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Stockholm school celebrates Nepal Project success
National
Assange lawyer: Sweden should recognize UN opinion
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Private
The Local Voices
Why is this Syrian dentist who hugs like a Swede worried about undies?
Swedish nationalist 'shot and ate' lion and giraffe
Analysis & Opinion
'Sweden's residency revamp is harmful and inhumane'
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Photo: The Local
The Local Voices
UNHCR boss: 'It's hard to start your life without your family'
Politics
VIDEO: Brits in Europe say why UK should stay
Photo: Marko Risović
The Local Voices
World Refugee Day: Searching for safety in Europe - in pictures
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
National
Is Swedish nationalists’ foreign food ban bananas?
Sponsored Article
The man behind Sweden's biggest music festival
Gallery
Property of the week: Söråker
International
Poll shows huge support for EU in Sweden
Sponsored Article
US expats: Have you met your tax deadlines?
The Local Voices
How a Syrian scuba diver mobilized Sweden's biggest asylum centre
Sponsored Article
Malmö: Home to the best food in Sweden?
Sport
Zlatan: 'If we'd been fighting for real, he'd be in hospital'
Sponsored Article
VIDEO: Why Malmö is the world's 6th best city for biking
The Local Voices
Orlando reflections: Is it possible to be gay and Muslim?
Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
Sweden to go ahead with migrant age tests
Gallery
People-watching: June 17th-19th
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
National
Will you be hit by changes to Sweden's residency laws?
The Local Voices
Why an Iraqi who won Swedish lottery won't quit his restaurant job
Gallery
People-watching: Midweek revellers
National
Why this pizzeria is giving elderly Swedes free meatballs
3,307
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se