Sweden has announced it is planning to introduce ID checks for travellers to the country
In an effort to maintain order and security in the country, the Swedish government is considering a new law that would permit the reintroduction of identity checks during transportation by bus, train, or passenger ship to Sweden for travellers from another country.
According to the Swedish Ministry of Infrastructure, the proposed legislation aims to empower the government with the necessary tools to swiftly implement measures if the situation demands it.
The Ministry stressed that if the proposal is approved, identity checks will only be carried out if necessary, meaning that the measure will not be effective at all times.
The current proposal is intended to be permanent and is expected to come into force on March 1, 2024.
The Freedom of Movement Council (FMC) presents its views in a referral response to the Swedish government’s legislative proposal regarding “the temporary ban on transporting persons without valid identity documents into Sweden”. If the proposal becomes a reality, train and bus companies that transport people to Sweden may be forced to check the IDs of all passengers.
The FMC, which works to promote freedom of movement in the Nordic Region, points out that tens of thousands of people could be affected.
The chair of the Freedom of Movement Council, Siv Friðleifsdóttir. said:
“If the proposal becomes a reality, it could hit the border regions and the roughly 45,000 Nordic citizens who commute to work across the borders especially hard. It also affects Nordic companies in Sweden’s neighbouring countries – companies that employ thousands of people living in Sweden. The Freedom of Movement Council understands that political action is required to manage a possible refugee crisis and to strengthen national security, but we’re asking the Swedish government to consider alternative solutions.”
The background to the proposed bill is that the ID checks introduced in January 2016 have been pushed through by way of temporary legislation. The law came into force in December 2018, and now the Swedish government wants to have a permanent means to quickly introduce ID checks and carrier liability at its borders, when needed.
Around 90 percent of all cross-border commuting in the Nordic Region originates from Sweden to other Nordic countries. ID checks would be especially hard felt in the Öresund region, where around 18,000 commuters move between Denmark and Sweden every day. However, the regions bordering Norway and Finland would encounter big problems as well.
However, the Nordic Freedom of Movement Council is critical of the Swedish government’s proposal for enhanced ID checks at the borders. The council is of the opinion that, in proposing a new bill, the government isn’t taking into account previous experience from border controls and that there has been no impact assessment for the border regions.
Emphasising the importance of providing the government with the authority to ensure public order and security, the Minister of Infrastructure and Housing, Andreas Carlson, said that this law is very important.