Ferry firm fights new ID checks in Sweden

Ferry firm fights new ID checks in Sweden
HH ferry at Helsingør. Photo: Guillaume Baviere/Flickr
A company that operates car ferries between Sweden and Denmark has reported the Swedish government to the European Commission for forcing it to carry out ID checks on passengers.

HH Ferries Group, the Danish-based firm which operates the service from Helsingør to Helsingborg, claims that the cost of the controls, which it estimates at 100,000 Danish kroner ($14,000) a day, will not be borne by the operator of the Öresund Bridge, its major competitor. 

It is reporting Sweden to the European Commission for violating competition rules, arguing that the Öresund Bridge Consortium, a joint venture partly owned by the Swedish government, was being given preferential treatment. 

“Motorists who use the Öresund Bridge will be checked for the first time when they arrive in Sweden, and that will be done by the Swedish authorities,” Henrik Rørbæk, the company’s chief executive, told Sweden’s TT newswires.

The company is also reporting the Swedish government to the commission for infringing the Schengen border agreement.

HH Ferries announced its move a day after the state rail operator DSB threatened to levy a supplementary charge on passengers travelling to Sweden to cover the costs of the ID checks, which come into force on January 4th. 

Sweden announced in November that it would require transport companies operating trains and ferries to the Nordic country from Denmark to carry out ID checks on all customers crossing into Sweden, as part of efforts to limit the number of refugees heading north.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen has been highly critical of the Swedish plan, calling it “a very unfortunate situation” which would endanger the billions spent on building infrastructure and carrying out marketing to create a connected cross-border Öresund Region linking Malmö and Copenhagen. 

According to broadcaster TV2, HH Ferries has hired a private security company to carry out the ID checks. 

The company is owned by First State Investments, an Australian infrastructure fund. 

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