Former Prime Minister of Sweden Fredrik Reinfeldt has hit back at U.S. President Donald J. Trump, insisting mass migration has strengthened the country, which he said is becoming safer.
In an interview with Aftonbladet, the Moderate party figure slammed Trump for his depiction of the Scandinavian country, accusing the U.S. president of drawing attention to crime and unrest in Sweden “to send a message that large scale migration harms a country”.
Reinfeldt criticised the image of Sweden portrayed by some, including a piece by Sweden Democrat (SD) leaders Jimmie Åkesson and Mattias Karlsson last week in the Wall Street Journal, which said, “Trump is right”.
Contrary to how the country is depicted in the article, which argued that mass migration has led to riots and crime, the former prime minister said Sweden has been steadily becoming safer. He argued that rising rape figures only reflect higher rates of reporting, and that crime is decreasing.
Equating historic migration of Europeans to the U.S., Reinfeldt said it is “ahistoric” and makes no sense that the president would want to cut migration.
According to the Center for Immigration Studies, the average household headed by an immigrant (legal or illegal) costs American taxpayers $6,234 (£5,018) each year in federal welfare benefits.
The former prime minister told Aftonbladet: “The strange thing is that Donald Trump is trying to tell Americans that it’s not a good idea to let immigrants in the country. But one wonders, how do people think the United States was to become the United States?”
The newspaper reported that while Reinfeldt insisted he wouldn’t comment on Swedish domestic politics, he spoke “warmly about continued migration and said that it strengthens the country”.
Declaring the Nordic nation to be “a country of immigration”, the former prime minister cautioned that a massive influx of migrants in a short time can pose difficulties for a host country. But he added that after decades of mass migration to Sweden: “My experience is that after a while people come in and help to form a new society.”
Reinfeldt gave a cryptic answer to the question of whether he has ever “felt self-critical” about the liberal immigration policies he pushed as prime minister.
“All decisions made must be understood in the context of the reality of the time and place in which they were made. I have on several occasions showed that I simply believe in an open society. I think people have the ability to develop, something which is also true when crossing boundaries and going into a new existence,” he said.
Aftonbladet revealed Reinfeldt also voiced fears about French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen during the interview, declaring the Front National politician to be the “single greatest threat to Europe right now”.
Last week, as large parts of the media mocked the U.S. president for claims that Sweden is “having problems like they never thought possible” as a result of mass migration, major riots broke out in one of the country’s suburbs where a majority of residents were born overseas.
Breitbart London spoke to a now-retired senior police officer in Sweden who said open border migration policies are responsible for growing violence in the formerly peaceful nation.