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Øresund bridge

During the peak period of the crisis of Syrian refugees in 2015, when refugees started moving from one European nation to another in hopes of better asylum conditions, the EU made an exceptional declaration to temporarily prohibit the Free Movement policy of Schengen. As a result, many countries started putting up security checkpoints on their borders to limit secondary movements from their neighbours to stop refugee movements. The Øresund Bridge, built to connect Denmark and Sweden, had installed a similar system.⁣

Denmark, with its right-wing government at that point, had harsher asylum policies than Sweden. The Venstre government started taking valuables of refugees to pay for their stay. They also had put up advertisements in foreign newspapers, claiming that the Danish government would not provide refuge to any more migrants. In contrast, the Swedish Social Democratic government had a much more humane asylum policy and a higher acceptance rate. Most refugees, upon entering Europe, therefore tried to move towards Sweden.⁣

The situation became hard for the Danish government, as most refugees passed through the Danish land to cross the Øresund Bridge and enter Sweden. Thousands of refugees entered Denmark to move on to Sweden, but the Danish government was reluctant to allow any entry of refugees lest they decide to stay in Denmark. The harsh asylum policies became harsher; the Danish government started oppressing refugees to send them away from Danish land. The Øresund Bridge, for the first time since the Danish entry to Schengen, had regular border checking. Checkpoints were established in both Danish and Swedish ends. However, refugees were allowed to go from Denmark to Sweden, not from Sweden to Denmark.⁣

The Øresund Bridge represents just one of the many cases in which the EU members decided to abandon one of their defining policies to limit privileges given to the refugees. The bridge was constructed to unite two neighboring nations, but amidst the crisis, it showed their differences.

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