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Sweden to halt some passenger rail services to Denmark over identity checks

Sweden's railway operator SJ is to halt some passenger services to and from Denmark, blaming the refugee crisis. From January, transport companies will be fined if they carry passengers without identity papers.

Monday's announcement by state-owned rail operator SJ follows the Stockholm government's request for a temporary exemption from the European Union's open-border Schengen agreement to better manage the influx of migrants into the country.

Swedish ministers passed a new law requiring identity checks on all public transport entering the country from January 4, 2016.

Transport companies will be fined if they carry passengers into Sweden without photo ID.

The decision comes after Sweden saw

more than 150,000 migrants enter the country this year,

mostly from the Middle East.

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

Delays for commuters

SJ said in a statement that it did not have the capacity to carry out checks quickly enough on passengers. Many of its customers are daily commuters, it said, entering Sweden from Denmark across the Oresund bridge.

The rail operator added it had chosen to "cancel its departures until there is a working solution in place."

It's believed about five round trip journeys will be affected each day.

Another operator, Oresundstag, which runs a commuter railway service linking the two countries, said it would remain in operation after January 4 but scale back rush-hour traffic to allow time for the identity checks.

As well as regular public transport checks 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 (dpa, Reuters)

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