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'No plans' to tighten Sweden's asylum policy

'No plans' to tighten Sweden's asylum policy

Published: 06 Feb 2013 07:23 GMT+01:00
Updated: 06 Feb 2013 07:23 GMT+01:00

The Swedish government has no plans to tighten asylum policy, Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag said on Tuesday in the wake of comments by Migration Minister Tobias Billström that current immigration levels are "unsustainable".

Billström caused a stir at the weekend when he called for a reduction in the "volumes" of immigrants coming to Sweden.

"Today Sweden is one of the countries that receives the most immigrants in the EU. That's not sustainable," he told the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper in an interview published on Saturday.

Despite Billström's comments, made in the context of his Moderate Party's efforts to revamp Sweden's current immigration and integration policies, Ullenhag, a member of the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet), said on Tuesday that no changes in government policy were in the works.

"It's important for the Liberal Party to defend a humane asylum policy and for us to be open to the world," he said at a conference about Somalis' integration in Sweden arranged by the Fores think tank, according to Sveriges Radio (SR).

"Different parties have different policy programme groups. There are no plans from the government to tighten asylum policy."

Ullenhag went on to discuss the challenges facing Somalis who have come to Sweden in the last two decades, explaining that one of the impediments to integration has been the difficulty they've had reuniting with relatives in Sweden.

There are currently 40,000 Somali immigrants in Sweden, according to SR, and the Migration Board (Migrationsverket) expects 20,000 more asylum seekers and accompanying family members to arrive in Sweden in the next year, making Somalis the fastest growing immigrant group in Sweden.

Ullenhag went on to emphasize that Sweden could draw upon lessons learned from its experience in accepting large numbers of refugees from the Balkans in the 1990s, an immigration wave that he said was bigger than the current flow of refugees from Somalia.

"Many of the same questions were asked then. But today we see that many of those who moved from the Balkans have become a part of Swedish society, have a job, and contribute, and thus many prejudices have been broken, and that's exactly the same journey we need to make with people who have moved from Somalia," said Ullenhag.

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Your comments about this article

09:05 February 6, 2013 by Achilles7
It's frightening how naive some people are...

It's one thing being nice and wanting to help people in need, but to want Sweden to be 'open to the world' is just downright stupid. The people and culture of Somalia is vastly different from that of Northern Europe, and it's just unfair, to all those concerned, to clump people together like this. It will only lead to friction, tension and more segregation.
10:04 February 6, 2013 by Marc the Texan
Much of Somalia is without electricity, plumbing, clothing or literacy. How well will an adult from a culture like this ever adapt to life in Sweden? Comfortable poverty in Sweden will be a huge improvement in living standards and most probably won't have incentive to aspire beyond it. The deck is certainly stacked against the average Somali from ever becoming net productive member of society in Sweden. An irrational and costly policy that introduces crime and social social strife into Sweden for the purpose of fulfilling someones social agenda.
12:03 February 6, 2013 by dekamikaze
Ii's truely over now, if the swedes want to stop this madness, they must figure something out quickly, because it's too late for democratic means already, way too late. SD and SRM do you hear this?
12:03 February 6, 2013 by Rishonim
They should adopt a system like Switzerland where they put these initiative for the people to vote whether they should bring in more refugees or not. After all it is my tax money they are spending hence i should have a say...
12:13 February 6, 2013 by Nora
Sad to hear this news.
13:47 February 6, 2013 by dekamikaze
"Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?" I think we all know the answer to this right sd and srm?
17:19 February 6, 2013 by bcterry
Sweden is destined to become an islamic state.

However, if you agree to keep your mouth shut and allow yourself to be subjugated, they may allow you to grovel for a few crumbs.
19:12 February 6, 2013 by occassional
Exactly. This is only the major problem of this country. Why bother? I try to understand these people but I just cannot stick my head that far up my arse.
19:15 February 6, 2013 by jostein

Well, sweden is a multicultural country by now. This cannot be changed. I advocate surrender, turning inward and rebuilding our failed culture into something that might let us continue to exist in a multicultural environment.

We have been defeated even more thoroughly with words and infiltration and deceit and treachery than any army could have. A people should know when they are conqoured.
19:51 February 6, 2013 by Gardian
#@ Marc the Texan

Well, as matter of fact there is a high percentage of Somalis who are fully integrated in the society, have job, some are holding high degrees specially those who came early 1992. once they get peace, security and opportunity they proof them-self its for the rest its hard and long way to go but they will.

we all know the history of Somalia and its civil war, but who told you that if someone get unfortunate difficulties in past so there is no hope for him to succeed. !!

in Sweden we been through harder way similar to that in Somalia today, Swedish people flee from the country, but look at Sweden today you came from eastern Europe to criticize Somalis for their unfortunate. but make no mistake this country know its values and we will help others as long as we can, ''Success is the necessary misfortune of life, but it is only to the very unfortunate that it comes early.''.
02:42 February 7, 2013 by Marc the Texan

I'd really love to see some stats on that.

The point is, this is a very expensive charity for the sake of someone's muticultural utopian ideal. Just a very foolish way to run a country.
07:04 February 7, 2013 by dekamikaze
I'd rather be cut in half by the hail of bullets than surrender to the filths! But that's me, may be I don't know how to be a swede.
15:22 February 7, 2013 by godnatt
More votes for SD. Good job.

Please tell us more about how great the asylum seekers are. The voters want to know...

@ Gardian

Yes, except the main problem with Somalia is that its filled with Somalis.

I'm sure they'll all become peace loving rocket scientists as soon as they get here.

They just need to get away from all the other Somalis... wait...
20:39 February 7, 2013 by Max Reaver
Erik Ullenhag looks like he's completely clueless in the picture above. Perhaps the cause is detachment from reality?
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