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Reinfeldt slams Cameron over immigration stance

Reinfeldt slams Cameron over immigration stance

Published: 27 Mar 2013 07:15 GMT+01:00
Updated: 27 Mar 2013 07:15 GMT+01:00

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on Tuesday criticized his British counterpart David Cameron for his plans to restrict migrants' rights to social benefits.

"I think it's unfortunate," Reinfeldt told TT news agency when asked about the initiative Cameron announced on Monday.

"I believe in a Europe that should be open, where we have free movement, and where we instead ask ourselves how people who come here can get work more easily," he said.

Speaking to Sveriges Radio (SR), Reinfeldt also pointed out that Sweden, when it opened its borders to greater immigration from Bulgaria and Romania, saw no major influx of people seeking to abuse the country's generous welfare system and benefits.

"We didn't see this big social tourism that everyone warned us about, and it might be wise to share that experience with others," Reinfeldt said.

Reinfeldt's criticism of Cameron was echoed by Christian Democrat party leader and Social Affairs Minister Göran Hägglund.

"I think it's a terrible way to express oneself. I think his speech is very, very, unfortunate," Hägglund told SR.

Specifically, Hägglund took issue with how Cameron "pitted us against them" when speaking of migrants.

Cameron on Monday proposed to limit newcomers' rights to housing, unemployment and health benefits, saying those services were "something earned, not an automatic right."

Immigration has shot up on the political agenda as the UK responds to the European Union lifting work restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians in 2014.

AFP/The Local/dl

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Your comments about this article

08:15 March 27, 2013 by Flygger
Weak and spineless puppy boy Reinfeldt has lost the plot.

Looking forward to your future Sweden ???
08:36 March 27, 2013 by kingrupert
As a UK citizen, I am about as curious in my maid's view on social policy as I am in Reinfeldt's. Mr Reinfeldt, we Brits are interested in your women and not your ideas.
09:04 March 27, 2013 by RobinHood
Mr Reinfeldt may have had a point until last Friday.

Unfortunately, last Friday the concept of a Europe Union, with free movement of people and capital, collapsed when the EU tried (but failed) to hive off 6% of the savings of the entire population of Cyprus. Not only rich Russian investors, but ordinary Cypriot people. For the next few weeks/months, (possibly for ever) those people will not be able to withdraw their own savings and transfer them elsewhere.

The EU's moral right to exist has gone, along with all its worthy notions - including the free movement of people that Mr Reinfeldt refers to. Mr Cameron is the first leader to publicly announce that it is now every man for himself; grab what you can. Others will follow soon. Behind the scenes the other EU countries are quietly taking steps to protect themselves from the storm. Germany (the project's main financier) is not even pretending anymore, and is recovering its debts any way it can, no matter what the cost to the project.

This week, there has been a complete moral collapse of those at the very centre of the project. In Brussels, even the EU's greatest supporters are ashamed of what they have built, and have lost hope. I hope (for Sweden's sake), Mr Reinfeldt has seen this and is taking the necessary steps to prepare for the end.
09:34 March 27, 2013 by Great Scott
For god's sake David I thought we agreed on everything last week. I went away thinking David and I have managed to screw the poor, the unemployed and the health service and now you come up with this. Fredrik I thought if we make cuts to immigration spending we can give our friends further tax breaks, like that the voters see we are not screwing them all the time or so they believe. Dear David these people that we are letting in will not get jobs, so we use them on our brilliant Fas 3 (work for free) scheme. Anders and I have done the maths on this a million times. The returns are fantastic, greedy companies making millions and creating further unemployment, it's just one fantastic snowball. Now toe the line David. But Fredrik you know that doesn't work in the UK, a court found us guilty of exploiting human rights. David we must work together on these policies it's all we've got, we have no other ideas.
09:48 March 27, 2013 by tekstrom
What benefits does any EU citizen here in Sweden receive, apart from health care, which is not inconsiderable as any US citizen will tell you.

I am here as a UK citizen, (am also a US citizen), was married to a Swede for 20 years and am entitled to nothing. Which is OK, but from the tone of the article, I wonder if i am missing something here.

Can anyone clarify?
10:31 March 27, 2013 by muscle
hmm.. I am an asian, and i highly respect the social insurance accessibility to everyone. However, I am highly against of people misusing facilities that are meant to protect them in any way. It just sucks, that people misuse these facilities. It kills me seeing that all of us are working hard in office yet, when we go out we see these people telling us (YOU SHOULD ENJOY LIFE.. MONEY SHOULDN'T BE A PROBLEM) ...*uck that!
10:34 March 27, 2013 by Orcade
#2

You don't care about the opinion of the swedish PM Mr. Reinfeldt, but you care enough to comment on an article where his opinion is voiced on a page dedicated to swedish news... Curious..

At any rate, I feel the EU is a failed experiment, where responsible nations pays for the mistake of others and where smaller nations cannot micromanage their own economies. Atleast we didn't cave in to the euro hype.
12:34 March 27, 2013 by Edifier
Correct me if I am wrong, but in my experience - having lived in both countries - the interpretation of the freedom of movement in Sweden differs from the UK. To settle in Sweden most of us writing here will know we need residence permits, numbers and IDs in order to be eligible for any services (proper medical care, language school, etc). In order to get these one has to have a job, (partner or means of support. etc). In order to get a job you need to obtain official leave to stay here. Catch 22 for many. So it is not the case that one just arrives here and gets access to all benefits. In the UK however, there is no similar process as they have no ID cards or means of keeping proper track of people, which may be a mistake in Swedish eyes, but is a fact nonetheless. I think therefore it is quite understandable that they feel the need to do something about regulating benefit and medical tourists - as Sweden is actually doing by choosing who they allow to stay and provide support for! It is a massive problem in the UK and something has to be done about it, always stressing that it is those that abuse the system causing the problems.
13:06 March 27, 2013 by suprkynu
I myself is a swedish and im happy that our government is ready to help those who are in need. We are the most generous people on the earth and we had never expereinced any economy crisis becouse we help then we get pleased.
13:37 March 27, 2013 by Orcade
#8 you make some very valid points. The left parties in this country wants us to move in your direction and I think Reinfeldt would have a lot less support for these kinds of claims with a system like yours.

#9 In the 90's we did have an economic crisis, that's why we are doing well comparatively well now, we were prepared that something like this might happen again.
21:51 March 27, 2013 by johan rebel
Reinfeldt AND Hägglund criticized Cameron?

Oh boy, poor David must be quaking in his boots!
22:49 March 27, 2013 by Kronaboy
@tekstrom & Edifier

Well spotted young man, the answer is very little. This is definitely a case of the pot calling the kettle black, and the reality is Cameron is merely following Rheinfeldts' example who has been denying several hundred or so UK migrants their rights for years. For example my two children were denied their child benefit for years and when they did finally receive it we discovered the Swedish authorities had contacted the UK authorities to try and get them to pay for it, naturally the UK told them where to get off. Rheinfeld would have you believe he is merely seeking to protect the Bulgarians etc… In reality he wants to ensure the 30000 or so Swedish Migrants (UK being the 2nd largest destination after Norway) each year retain their right to fleece the UK tax payer, and his unemployed masses have access to Social Security while seeking employment in UK.

@suprkynu

Swedes the most generous people in the world, do me a favour you wouldn't spit on a drowning man without getting paid first, I thought the Scots were tight fisted till I moved to Sweden. Any none Swedes wish to disagree?
09:10 March 28, 2013 by Orcade
#5

Free universities of a relatively high standard! 3 of the 100 top universities in the world are swedish, and there are around 3 more just outside of that list. Sadly we lack any real incentive to keep the people we have educated in the country for long.
15:46 March 28, 2013 by Kronaboy
It's going to be extremely hard for me to stomach, but I for one am going to write a letter of support to Cameron, I think these sponging Swedes are long overdue for a taste of their own medicine.
18:29 March 28, 2013 by How soon is now
I think Sweden needs to attract people who are successful and well educated. Unfortunately, having a 22% capital gains tax on property for people moving moving into the country is a major disincentive and needs to be rectified. Why come here from aboard if it going to cost a lot of money. This situation is compounded by the over valuation of the krona. In the UK this situation does not exist.
00:28 March 30, 2013 by Kronaboy
@How soon is now

You should go visit the lines at the local kommune social, you will find the majority hold a minimum of degree; while uneducated racists are given positions on no other ground than nepotism and racist recruitment selection. But I am not a bitter man who would reduce myself to the level of the European racist and try to make the most of life; as Bobby Sands responded when asked how he wanted to be avenged, he responded why would he waste his time with revenge, "let the laughter of our children be my revenge". You see a lot of the newbies on this site desperately seeking acceptance from the racist, in time they will realise they are wasting their time. If the Newbie stays long enough his children and grandchildren will probably react with anger, as I may have stated before I have lived through 3 riots, and they will eventually discover when you riot the only thing you get is a shitty neighbourhood. With age I have grown to understand you want to hurt the Racist European, you hit him where he feels it most, in his pocket.
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