Gov't proposes law to allow closing Öresund bridge

1:11 min

The Swedish government wants the power to close the Öresund bridge, which links Sweden with Denmark, to help it handle the influx of refugees and migrants coming to the country.

The draft law would let the government bypass parliament and temporarily close the bridge, which sees roughly 75,000 rail and auto passengers cross everyday. It is unclear how long the government could keep the nearly eight-kilometer-long bridge closed.

Newspaper Dagens Industri, which has seen a copy of the draft legislation, wrote that the power to shut down the connection, if approved, would remain in force for three years.

"The Öresund Bridge is one of Sweden's most important and busiest connections to another country, Denmark. A temporary closure of the bridge can provide another measure to reduce the risk that public order or internal security is affected as a result of the large influx of asylum seekers," the proposal read according to the newspaper.

Speaking with Swedish Radio News, Infrastructure Minister Anna Johansson underscored that the suggestion was only a tool to be used if the situation was out of control.

"I want to be clear that today there are no plans to use this opportunity," Johansson says. "The reason for this proposal is that if such a situation arises we must be able to act quickly. So it's important that there is a legal basis for the government to make such a decision."

Sweden is already checking ID of people traveling by train and car on the bridge and the government says the continuing stream of migrants and refugees can still pose a threat to public order and internal security.