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PM slams Billström for 'blonde, blue-eyed' line

PM slams Billström for 'blonde, blue-eyed' line

Published: 19 Mar 2013 17:05 GMT+01:00
Updated: 19 Mar 2013 17:05 GMT+01:00

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on Tuesday called on his migration minister, Tobias Billström, to shape up following controversial statements Billström made about the appearance of illegal immigrants.

Reinfeldt took Billström to task for several missteps, the most recent of which took place on Monday in an interview the migration minister gave the Dagens Nyhter (DN) newspaper about the issue of asylum seekers and other migrants who stay in Sweden illegally.

"Sometimes we have this image that people in hiding live with a nice Swedish lady in her fifties or sixties who wants to help," Billström told DN.

"But that's not how it is. Most of them live with their countrymen who aren't at all blonde and blue-eyed."

Billström apologized for the formulation later on Monday after a storm of criticism erupted from across the political spectrum.

On Tuesday, Reinfeldt made his first public statement on the controversy, describing Billström's comment as "inappropriate".

"He's made a few mistakes recently and it's been made more difficult by the fact that they've taken place on several occasions," Reinfeldt told the TT news agency.

"Therefore, I've made it clear for Tobias Billström that the way to regain confidence is by holding himself to the humanitarian line we have in our policies and that he must work hard to regain that confidence."

Reinfeldt also answered critics who accused the Moderate Party of shifting its position on immigration policy to one closer to that of the populist, anti-immigration stance of the Sweden Democrats.

"There's been no shift. We stand for a humane, orderly, and legally-sound asylum and immigration policy," said Reinfeldt, jettisoning speculation that he and Billström are engaging in a "bad cop, good cop" approach to immigration policy.

"It's not about that. We have no intention of making any changes in our asylum and migration policy."

Reinfeldt's public criticism of his embattled migration minister is almost unprecedented in Swedish politics, according to one expert.

"I can't recall another example in Swedish political history when a prime minister directed such stinging criticism again someone in his cabinet," Stockholm University political science professor Tommy Möller told TT.

"What's normal with these sort of tensions, what's common practice, is to resign."

Möller added that Reinfeldt's decision to reprimand Billström publicly indicated that the move was an attempt to "weaken Billström's political authority".

TT/The Local/dl

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Your comments about this article

17:44 March 19, 2013 by Khazara

A society functions by facilitating healthy relationships between its citizens; and as long as that society does not disenfranchise too many; a society / country can function well.


While the Swedish Travel Market företag are free to alienate 80% percent of the population by promoting a false idea of Sweden, oops!!;

(The country has very few people with Blond hair and blue eyes [not counting those that BLEACH their hair]; sure some of the children may have the blue eyes; but the blonde hair, 90% of the time turns brown by the time the children reach 7).

Psst!! The Swedish government should not follow their lead.

However, (yeeeeaah!) as an African I have no problem with the attitude that is being projected by politicians since I don't have a "dog in this fight" (hooray!!). I have no children [Phew!! Thank god I stood my ground by not getting any of these Swedish women pregnant. {Funny that so many white women are open to having mulatto babies in such a racist country? Anyway, that's a different story}]

I am staying no longer than I need to 3 more years, Yippie!! . I just know that Sweden's reputation has taken a huge hit to those of us who can tell it apart from Switzerland. Not too many educated people want to come to country with z-list cities that are not diversified; located in a cold climate (brr!!) and passively racist.

March on Sweden!

Since the world will march pass you. Zing!!
19:22 March 19, 2013 by johan rebel
Reinfeldt is a yellow coward.
19:54 March 19, 2013 by allnotmoney
check your google,Sweden is the most racist country in europe,i was shocked when i saw this,very soon ,sweden heydo
20:03 March 19, 2013 by liondens
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
20:32 March 19, 2013 by TG22
let's see how long will take for TL to remove the comments...
20:54 March 19, 2013 by liondens
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
07:50 March 20, 2013 by skogsbo
he had a chance to tackled a massive problem head on, and he wimped out. Stastically I bet there are no blonde haired, blued eyed illegals, so he was 100% correct in what he said. Plus removing all the illegals, will make life better for all the legal immigrants, I just fail to see how anyone other than illegal immigrants can complain about this comment.

The problems is the world and it's people have gone too fluffy, we have to pretend that there are no illegals, dumb people are really just as clever as bright people, people who are severely disabled have to be treated like another other worker even though they clearly can't work quite the same etc.. the 'isms' are causing problems as much for those in need of help, as those who don't need it and are trying to offer it to them.

Kzah, can you give us an example of a country where the population is more diverse?
15:46 March 20, 2013 by Max Reaver

If you find one illegal who is blond and blue-eyed then your theory is totally bust. Being blond and blue-eyed is not a Scandinavian invention, especially when it's about nationality.

Wanna one example where the population is more diverse? How about US of A, UK, Australia and New Zealand?
17:38 March 22, 2013 by antheo
skogsbo you hit the nail on the head. The reference to blond blue eyed as I see it was merely to show its not the local Swedes hiding the illegals its other illegals or immigrant legals. Chicago USA is a sanctuary city where illegal immigrants cannot be questioned etc. and can even get a drivers license now. Swedes can learn from Americans 12 million illegals have changed most of the major cities. How many will it take to change a country like Sweden. First they will control politics in the cities and politicians will cater for the votes ,loyalties will shift and if leaders will look ahead two or three generations they might see what being super good guys will do for the future. And Max yes the US of A and UK are diverse and what has that got to do with illegal aliens (criminals) ,Australia and New Zealand unless they have changed recently have strict immigration laws .
18:51 March 22, 2013 by tekstrom
To antheo:

Chicago will not issue those drivers licenses for another 10 months, and they have stringent pre-qualifications. They will not be able to be used as ID. Driver's licenses are used not only to drive a car, but are the primary form of ID in the US - in all 50 states. Without a driver's license, you are helpless. The Chicago ones, will be a different color than regular driver's licenses, just to alert all concerned that the holder is "DIFFERENT"!

A "Sanctuary City" only means that law enforcement authorities cannot ask someone about their immigration status. Which is only fair and right and is adopted by most cities as "the right thing not to do".

Theresa Ekstrom, a concerned US citizen.

PS, the only Swede i ever knew who was blond haired (Blonde applies to females), and blue eyed was my dearly departed Swedish hubby. A real Viking, in his proud words!
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