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More Sweden-Denmark trains canceled over identity checks

The operator of a Malmo-Copenhagen commuter line says it will have to run fewer trains due to new migrant security checks. On Monday, Sweden's biggest rail operator canceled all trains to Copenhagen from the New Year.

Skanetrafiken, which handles about 84 percent of passenger traffic between Sweden and Denmark, said on Tuesday it would reduce its service from the New Year due to new Swedish government measures to increase ID checks for all passengers.

"There is no stopping (of service) but there will be fewer trains during rush hour traffic, and they could be very crowded," a spokesperson for the Swedish rail operator told Agence-France Presse.

Skanetrafiken runs the Öresund commuter line, which ferries tens of thousands of people each day between Malmo in Sweden and Denmark's capital Copenhagen, across the Öresund bridge.

The company's decision is expected to cause a major bottleneck for passengers between the two neighbors and follows a decision a day earlier by

the state-run Swedish rail operator SJ to cancel all of its trains

to Copenhagen.

SJ said it couldn't meet the government's demand quickly enough and had chosen to "cancel its departures until there is a working solution in place."

'Sweden can't cope'

The Swedish government's new rules are aimed at stemming the influx of refugees arriving in the country, after roughly 150,000 people applied for asylum in Sweden so far this year.

Along with Germany, several Scandinavian countries are popular destination countries for those seeking asylum. Most migrants arrive in Sweden by rail from Denmark.

Local media reported that most rail services from Denmark would now leave from Copenhagen airport, where the Danish operator DSB would carry out ID checks.

Sweden's new temporary law, which was passed last week by parliament, holds transport companies responsible for ensuring that passengers travelling to Sweden carry valid photo identification. Firms can be fined if they break the new regulations.

Under its new asylum law, Sweden will only offer temporary residence permits to asylum seekers and tighten family reunification rules.

Last month,

Norway also stepped up border controls

on those people traveling across land from Sweden.

mm/jm (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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