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Sweden drops plans to close bridge to Denmark

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Sweden drops plans to close bridge to Denmark
13:49 CET+01:00
Plans for new legislation that would allow the Øresund Bridge between Copenhagen and Malmö to be closed in a crisis situation are set to be scrapped by the Swedish government.
Sweden's government said last week that it wanted to introduce ID checks on buses, trains and ferries, and to have the right to close the Øresund Bridge in the event of a crisis, including one linked to refugees travelling to the region.
 
The plans were set to be voted on in parliament on Wednesday. But Annika Hirvonen Falk, deputy chairperson of the government's Justice Committee told Swedish public broadcaster SVT on Tuesday that the bridge part of the proposal had been taken out of the draft bill amid controversy over the idea.
 
The politician, who is a member of Sweden's Green Party, said she was happy with the decision.
 
"The Green Party has pushed this from the beginning and we are very pleased that the government chooses to go with our line."
 
Sweden's centre-right opposition parties the Moderates and the Liberals had also criticised the idea, along with the Council on Legislation (Lagrådet), which advises on the legality of government proposals. On Monday evening it likened the proposals to “emergency laws” and criticized the way they were drawn up.
 
“It is clear to the Council on Legislation that the temporary legislation being proposed will not be fit for the purpose of tackling the current challenges, if protecting the right to asylum is also desired,” it said in a statement.
 
“Such intrusive legislation should only be introduced after a thorough inquiry that takes into account the basic principles of the rule of law."
 
The body is purely advisory and does not have the power to block legislation, but it has an important role in advising whether proposed legislation is compatible with existing laws and the constitution.
 
Police have already been carrying out spot checks on people coming from Copenhagen to the southern Swedish city of Malmö via the Øresund Bridge – made famous by the Nordic Noir television series 'The Bridge' – since the Swedes moved to stall the influx of refugees in mid-November.
 
Draft legislation outlining Sweden's plans to introduce tougher checks on public transport is still expected to be put to parliament, despite controversy over the idea.
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