Sweden seeks emergency power to halt Danish bridge traffic

Minister says Öresund road bridge between Copenhagen and Malmö may be shut in emergencies under proposed security legislation

sweden bridge

Section of the Öresund bridge, near Malmö, Sweden. The road link to Copenhagen is used regularly by commuters. Photograph: Sven Rosenhall/Getty Images/Nordic Photos

The Swedish government is preparing a proposal that would make it possible on security grounds to halt road traffic across the Öresund bridge to Denmark, as the country struggles to come to grips with record arrivals of refugees.

The proposal, not yet finalised, would be part of legislation requiring identity checks on all public transportation to Sweden in an effort to reduce the number of asylum seekers, a spokeswoman for the infrastructure minister said.
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The plan would include giving the government the option of temporarily closing road traffic over the bridge (although still allowing trains) and on other roads into Sweden, said the spokeswoman.

The Öresund bridge, linking Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, with Sweden’s third largest city, Malmö, is extensively used by commuters as well as by freight traffic. About 20,000 motor vehicles cross it daily.

The infrastructure minister, Anna Johansson, told the local news agency TT that closing the bridge would be a very dramatic measure and it would only happen in an emergency. “Our intent and our hope is that we will not have to use this legal possibility,” Johansson was quoted as saying.

Sweden, with a population of about 9.6 million people, has proposed a number of changes to tighten asylum rules after the Swedish migration agency,Migrationsverket, said it expected arrivals of asylum seekers in the country to reach 190,000 during 2015.

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