Swedish immigration minister Helene Fritzon said Friday that current immigration levels in the Scandinavian country are nearly “double” what the country can handle and released a proposal to cut them drastically in the future.
At a press conference announcing a change in party policy for the Social Democrats, Ms. Fritzon said that Sweden should be accepting closer to 14,000 or 15,000 asylum seekers each year, far fewer than the 27,000 who entered the country in 2017.
“Even if the number of asylum seekers has dropped significantly in Sweden, it is significantly higher than our population share in Europe,” she said. “Not quite double, but close to it.”
Sweden, with a population under 10 million, has taken in approximately 350,000 asylum-seekers in the last four years, and many citizens believe that Sweden has borne a disproportionate share of the burden in comparison with the other EU countries.
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“It became particularly clear in the autumn of 2015 that the Swedish migration policy was not sustainable,” Fritzon said.
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, who announced the new migration policy alongside the immigration minister in preparation for upcoming elections, said that the country’s share in welcoming migrants and refugees to Europe “must correspond to Sweden’s population size.”
Sweden will hold elections this September, and the ruling Social Democrats are hustling to get their house in order in a bid to staying in power come the fall.
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Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said that “only a few EU countries” took their share of responsibility during the 2015 refugee crisis, which in his view clearly demonstrated the importance of a common and effective system of regulations.
A spokesman for the opposition Moderate Party blasted the Social Democrat proposals as insincere, asking how they could pretend to have a strict immigration policy when they recently announced the concession of temporary residency rights to 9,000 former unaccompanied minors whose applications had been rejected.
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