ID checks ‘strike blow to Malmö’s economy’
The government’s decision to continue with identity checks on public transport between Denmark and Sweden is hurting the economy in Malmö and the southern province of Skåne, Malmö’s Deputy Mayor Nils Karlsson has told Radio Sweden.
On Wednesday the government said it would extend the ID checks, which are carried out by transport companies on buses, trains and ferries, for another three months.
They had been due to expire on November 4.
Karlsson said he didn’t think the government understood the concerns Malmö and Skåne had.
“It strikes a serious blow to Skåne’s economy and Malmö’s economy,” he said. “We have seen four of the eight largest Danish corporations are reporting that they have trouble recruiting employees from Sweden which before was one of the areas in which they looked for possible employees."
Karlsson added: “The number of jobs you can reach from Malmö in Denmark in an hour has decreased by 40 per cent.”
Interior Minister Anders Ygeman told Swedish Television that the checks were needed to ensure order and safety.
“We had an unsustainable situation in November last year when we received 10,000 asylum seekers a week,” he said. “Thanks to ID checks and other decisions we have sorted out the situation.”
Ygeman said that the European Union was not yet fully in control of all of its borders and had no rules on the redistribution of refugees. He said that if Sweden scrapped the controls, there was a risk people could end up looking to Sweden rather than staying in Denmark or Germany.
Karlsson rejected that view, saying he thought it was other measures, such as restrictions on permanent residency and family reunion, that were bigger factors in the lower numbers of people seeking asylum in Sweden.
The ID checks are different from the border controls that are due to expire after November 11 and which the EU has given Sweden the permission to extend should they wish to. Sweden has not yet made a decision if it will do so.