Headline Denmark extends ID checks at German border

Denmark`s immigration ministry said Tuesday it had extended random identification checks along its border with Germany until March 4 in a move aimed at discouraging the arrival of more migrants. 

Copenhagen: Denmark`s immigration ministry said Tuesday it had extended random identification checks along its border with Germany until March 4 in a move aimed at discouraging the arrival of more migrants. 

"A large number of refugees and migrants are still trying to reach Europe and many among them are heading to Denmark and other countries in northern Europe," the ministry said in a statement.

Mostly fleeing war and instability in the Middle East, more than 110,000 people have arrived in Europe by sea since the beginning of the year. About 44 percent of the arrivals are from Syria, according to the UN High Commission for Refugees.

"Against this background and on the basis of continued identity checks at the Swedish border, the government today (Tuesday) decided to extend the Danish border controls," the ministry said. 

The controls were introduced on January 4, shortly after Swedish legislation went into force requiring rail and ferry companies to verify the identities of people travelling from Copenhagen across the Oresund Strait. 

Danish border controls were then extended on February 2.

Since the controls were introduced, the number of migrants arriving in Denmark has dropped by about two-thirds. Some 190 asylum applications were received last week, as oppose to 639 during the first week of the year, according to police.

Denmark received more than 21,000 asylum applications in 2015, a 44 percent jump from 2014, though significantly fewer than its neighbour, Sweden. 

Sweden received 163,000 asylum applications in 2015, but it has also seen the number of migrants arrivals fall sharply since the start of random border checks on 12 November. Between 600 and 700 asylum applications per week are currently being registered, compared with 10,000 in late October.