Sweden to end ID checks at border with Denmark

Sweden is to end ID checks on buses, trains and ferries travelling between the country and Denmark, the Swedish government has announced.

Sweden to end ID checks at border with Denmark
Commuters between Malmö and Copenhagen have been living with ID checks since January 2016. Photo: John Alexander Sahlin/TT

At the same time however, border control spot checks by police in place at some of Sweden's borders will be tightened to cover more travellers, and extended further. The controls will now include x-raying of vehicles and additional CCTV surveillance.

The temporary ID checks for rail, bus and ferry companies at the Öresund crossing and on ferries between the ports of Helsingør and Helsingborg were introduced in January 2016 as Sweden struggled to get to grips with an influx of refugees to the country. Last extended by three months in February, they are due to expire this week, and will not be extended.

Commuters in the busy Öresund region, where many travel between Malmö and Copenhagen for work, have complained about the ID checks causing disruption.

The checks followed on from the introduction of Swedish border controls in November 2015, which gave police the right to carry out checks on people wishing to enter Sweden from other Schengen Area states.

In contrast to the removal of ID checks, the border controls will be intensified. 

“The government's conclusion is that border controls are still needed and need to be strengthened,” interior minister Anders Ygeman said at a press conference explaining the end of ID checks and strengthening of border controls.

READ ALSO: Sales of commuter tickets between Sweden & Denmark drop as ID checks bite

Since the checks were introduced in early 2016 the number of asylum seekers coming to Sweden has reduced by around 80 percent, Ygeman explained, dropping from 10,000 per week to less than 500 per week at present.

READ ALSO: An in-depth look at Sweden's challenge integrating thousands of asylum seekers


Öresund Bridge to get first new coat of paint in almost two decades

The Öresund Bridge, which links Denmark and Sweden between Copenhagen and Malmö across the Öresund strait, is to be repainted for the first time since it was opened in 2000.

Öresund Bridge to get first new coat of paint in almost two decades
Lightning strikes the Öresund Bridge during a thunderstorm on June 15th. The lightning strike is not the reason for the new coat of paint. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Work on renovation of the bridge will begin in the autumn, P4 Malmö reports.

The new lick of paint will be the first given to the bridge since its opening in 2000, and is expected to cost around 430 million kronor.

Approximately 300,000 square metres of steelwork will need to be covered by the new paint job.

“The first brush strokes will be made in the autumn and, and it will be finished sometime around 2030-2032. After that, preparations for the next repainting will begin,” said John Alexander Sahlin, head of communications with operating company Öresundsbron.

The Öresund Bridge spans just under eight kilometres from the Swedish coast to the artificial island of Peberholm, from where it is connected to Danish island Amager via a tunnel.

The bridge was originally painted on land prior to being mounted across the Öresund, but the new painting work presents a different challenge and will take place at sea using special platforms that can move alongside the bridge.

READ ALSO: Öresund crossing sets new Denmark-Sweden traffic record