The fragmented European response to the migrant crisis splintered further Thursday when Sweden announced it would impose temporary border controls, a move that goes against European Union’s open-border policy.
Swedish officials say the checks, which will last for 10 days, will help them register the thousands of asylum-seekers entering the country, according to the BBC. Officials stressed the checks were put in place to maintain order and maintain security, and said anyone requesting asylum would not be turned back. They also said the controls are in line with EU rules.
EU law allows people to move freely without passports within the internal borders of the Schengen area, which comprises of 26 European countries, including Sweden. Stefan Lofven, the prime minister of Sweden, said Thursday the most severe migrant crisis since World War II has created a dire need for “another system” of intra-bloc travel. Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, agreed.
“I have no doubt without effective control of our external borders, the Schengen rules will not survive,” he said Thursday.
Sweden, a country of 9.6 million, is taking in more asylum-seekers per capita than any other European nation. About 10,000 asylum-seekers arrive in Sweden each week, and the country has run out of short-term space to house them, according to The Guardian. Nearly 200,000 migrants are expected to arrive there this year.