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Sweden to demand ID from bus and train travellers

Updated torsdag 17 december 2015 kl 18.39
Published torsdag 17 december 2015 kl 10.16
Politicians in the Riksdag speaking for and against ID checks
(2:00 min)
Justice and Migration Minister Morgan Johansson, standing, speaks with colleagues during Parliament's debate of the ID law.  Photo: Beatrice Ask / TT.
Justice and Migration Minister Morgan Johansson, standing, speaks with colleagues during Parliament's debate of the ID law. Photo: Beatrice Ask / TT.

Swedish lawmakers passed a law that demands identity documents for travellers to Sweden, including making train and bus companies police this rule.

Around half of those seeking refuge in Sweden do not have valid papers; this law was proposed by the government in November 2015, when it reduced Sweden’s asylum rules to the minimum demanded by international and EU law.

The Social Democrat and Green parties proposed the law, which will last for three years. While the law goes into effect on December 21, 2015, the controls will not begin until January 4, 2016.

Only the Left and Center parties voted against, plus one Green rebel. The law was hence passed by 175 against 39.

"For the Left Party, the right to asylum isn't negotiable. We have signed the Geneva convention that this is something we have to fulfil, and with this proposal we won't be able to do it," says Torbjörn Björlund of the Left Party

"The proposal threatens to tear asunder a well-integrated region and threaten an important labour market. The economic consequences are enormous," says Johan Hedin of the Center party

Most centre-right parties abstained, while the xenophobic Sweden Democrats supported the red-green government line.

The centre-right Moderates, Liberals and Christian Democrats wanted the checks to last six months, while the Sweden Democrats, who would like to see no refugees come to Sweden, want the ID controls to be permanent.

But the Moderate Party also say they want to be even tougher and reject refugees who came via another EU country

"In this situation Sweden needs a pause from accepting refugees" says former minister Beatrice Ask.

The Green and Social Democrat parties wanted to explain that their law will safeguard refugee rights.

"This is why it's so important to today carry out these measures. It is to protect the future right to asylum" says Mats Pertoft of the greens

And Social Democrat infrastructure minister Anna Johansson says that Sweden has to do this, or risk the systems of asylum and welfare being damaged.

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