For the first time since the 1950s, from midnight on Sunday travelers going from Denmark to Sweden by train, bus or boat will need to present a valid photo ID, such as a passport, to enter Sweden from its southern neighbor. There are penalties for tour operators who fail to impose checks. Passengers who fail to present a satisfactory document will be turned back.
The move marks a turning point for the Swedish ruling coalition of Social Democrats and Greens, which earlier presented itself as a beacon to people fleeing conflict and terror in Asia and the Middle East.
Sweden is set to drastically reduce the flow of refugees into the country by imposing strict identity checks on all travelers from Denmark, as Scandinavian countries compete with each other to shed their reputations as havens for asylum seekers.
In his new year address, Denmark’s liberal prime minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, said the country was prepared to impose similar controls on its border with Germany, if the Swedish passport checks left large numbers of asylum seekers stranded in Denmark.
This leaves the question if passport free travel in Europe will become history soon?