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Sweden, Denmark extend border controls to deter migrants

People queue for food  in the makeshift migrant camp at the Greek-Macedonian border near the Greek village of Idomeni, on March 2, 2016 ,  where thousands of people are stranded. The European Union on March 2 unveiled a  700-million-euro emergency aid plan for Greece and other states hit by the migrant crisis, in what would be the first time humanitarian cash has been used within Europe instead of outside the bloc. The United Nations has warned of a looming humanitarian crisis as thousands of refugees are stuck in wintry misery at the Greece-Macedonia border after a domino effect of Balkan border closures. / AFP / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI

People queue for food in the makeshift migrant camp at the Greek-Macedonian border near the Greek village of Idomeni, on March 2, 2016 , where thousands of people are stranded.<br />The European Union on March 2 unveiled a 700-million-euro emergency aid plan for Greece and other states hit by the migrant crisis, in what would be the first time humanitarian cash has been used within Europe instead of outside the bloc. The United Nations has warned of a looming humanitarian crisis as thousands of refugees are stuck in wintry misery at the Greece-Macedonia border after a domino effect of Balkan border closures. / AFP / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI

Both Sweden and Denmark separately announced the temporary extension of border identification checks on Thursday in a bid to deter the influx of further migrants and refugees.

“Europe has failed to keep its external borders. As long as there is no common European solution, Sweden is obliged to implement national measures in the short term,” said Swedish Interior Minister Anders Ygeman in a statement explaining the extension of systematic checks until April 8.

Copenhagen immediately followed suit, extending random identification checks along its border with Germany until April 3.

The controls were introduced on January 4, shortly after Swedish legislation went into force requiring rail and ferry companies to verify the identities of people travelling from Denmark across the Oresund Strait.

Danish border controls were then extended on February 2 and again on February 23.

Denmark received more than 21,000 asylum applications in 2015, a 44 percent jump from 2014, though significantly fewer than its neighbour, Sweden.

Sweden received 163,000 asylum applications in 2015, but it has also seen the number of migrants arrivals fall sharply since the start of border checks.

Just 528 asylum seekers were registered over the last seven days, compared to roughly 10,000 new arrivals per week in October.



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