Refugee Haven Sweden Imposes Border Controls in EU Migration Crisis
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Sweden will impose temporary border controls from Thursday in response to a record influx of refugees, a turnaround for a country known for its open-door policies that also threw down the gauntlet to other EU nations hit by a migration crisis.
The decision by a Nordic state that touts itself as a "humanitarian superpower" underscored how the flow of refugees into the European Union is straining its prized system of open internal borders close to breaking point.
Germany warned it could start sending Syrian refugees back to other EU states from which they came, prompting Hungary to insist it would take none, while Sweden's neighbor Denmark said it was tightening immigration rules and Slovenia began to emulate Budapest in erecting new border fences.
Sweden has welcomed more asylum-seeking refugees and migrants per capita than any other EU country and authorities forecast that up to 190,000 asylum seekers could arrive this year, double the previous record from the early 1990s.
"Our signal to the rest of the EU is crystal clear - Sweden is the country that has shouldered the greatest responsibility for the refugee crisis," Interior Minister Anders Ygeman told a news conference hastily called by the center-left government, Reuters reported.
"If we are to cope with this mutual challenge, the other countries must take their responsibility."
Sweden's border controls will primarily extend to the bridge across the Oresund strait separating Sweden and Denmark and ferry ports in the region. They will be imposed from Thursday for a period of 10 days and could be extended by 20-day periods.