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Nordic Council Debating Border Controls

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Border controls to be debated at Nordic Council Theme Session in Oslo






The Danish Conservative Party will propose a dialogue with Swedish politicians regarding bi-directional border controls between Sweden and Denmark. The debate in the Norwegian parliament, the Storting, offers a unique opportunity for lawmakers in the Nordic Region to listen to each other’s views on border controls, on what’s needed if we are to regain full freedom of movement in the region, and on the damage that border controls have caused so far.

The opening speaker at the council debate will be Anne Berner, Finnish minister for Nordic co-operation.

According to Danish media reports, the Nordic Council meeting will see proposals from the Danish Conservative Party regarding the implementation of further border controls for travellers from Sweden into Denmark.

The party will argue that Sweden is harboring 40,000 unregistered refugees, has hotspots of radicalism such as Rosengård in Malmö, and that there is a Swedish terror suspect.


The impact of border controls on Nordic co-operation:

Damage controls

Anne has previously argued strongly that border controls damage the Nordic Region and has given her assurance that the ministers for Nordic co-operation are working on several fronts to have them removed.

“We want to retain freedom of movement in the Nordic Region as well as Nordic values. We’ve always helped and supported one another. We can’t turn against one another now,” she said at a Nordic conference in Turku in January.

It has now been over three months since the introduction of border controls and several reports and analyses as to their impact have since followed.

Increased costs

An analysis by the Øresund Institute shows that identity checks cost the Danish train company DSB DKK 30 million per month, partly as a result of the fact that one in five commuters decided against taking the train.

News agency News Øresund reports on commuters handing in their notice, and on refugees risking death by walking through the Øresund tunnel.

According to a new report by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Southern Sweden, border controls result in an annual loss to society of SEK 1.5 billion through delays to commuters and the shrinking market potential of the Øresund region, while other analysts believe the impact is less.

Danish-Swedish negotiations

Both countries are preparing for protracted negotiations. Denmark and Sweden are negotiating on how the controls can be made less damaging, such as by way of combined ID and border checks at Copenhagen Airport train station.

“Border controls should be a temporary reaction to an extraordinary situation. Yet we’re seeing that the flow of refugees to the Nordic Region may continue for many years to come. Hence we will be forced to discuss the impact of border controls on Nordic co-operation,” says this year’s president of the Nordic Council, Henrik Dam Kristensen.

Border controls in 2016

Sweden’s decision to impose border controls for travellers arriving in the country from Denmark as of 4 January this year was unprecedented. Nordic citizens travelling between Denmark and Sweden have not needed to present ID since the passport union came into effect in the 1950’s. As a response, the Danish government introduced temporary border controls with Germany. Finland introduced visa requirements for travellers on ferries from Germany, while Norway stepped up checks at its internal borders.

To this end, the open, borderless Nordic Region has disappeared from view.

{Source: Norden – Media Relations}

[Photo credits-featured image:  The Öresund Bridge between Malmö in Sweden and Copenhagen in Denmark. – By Johannes Jansson/, CC BY 2.5 dk,]

[Intext photos: inserted by (credits embedded)]


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