• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Bid to house refugees in Sweden's empty jails

TT/The Local · 25 Sep 2015, 15:11

Published: 25 Sep 2015 10:13 GMT+02:00
Updated: 25 Sep 2015 15:11 GMT+02:00

"We have seen a dramatic increase in the number of refugees seeking asylum. That's why I have told Migration Minister Morgan Johansson to urgently review what steps need to be taken," Prime Minister Stefan Löfven told the TT newswire earlier on Friday ahead of a parliament debate on the escalating refugee crisis.

"People need to get roofs over their heads and the children have to start school," said Löfven, who heads Sweden's Social Democrat-Green coalition government.

The Nordic nation has a global reputation for helping refugees, but it has faced some criticism within Sweden following complaints from asylum seekers about long waiting times and access to housing.

Migration Minister Morgan Johansson told a press conference on Friday that the government was looking at a range of options to house refugees, including using empty jails. Sweden has closed down several prisons in the past few years because of falling crime rates.

"We're looking at properties owned by the Prison and Probation Service and the Armed Forces," said Johansson.

Other actions that could be taken are increased coordination with the Swedish Migration Agency, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, and municipalities across the country to make sure that the new arrivals find somewhere to live. 

The government also wants to fast-track proposed legislation to force local authorities to accept refugees.


Swedish Migration Minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Sweden is expected to receive at least 74,000 asylum applications by the end of 2015 and last year took in more refugees per capita than any other EU nation.

Its two neighbours, Norway and Finland, have both announced increased border controls as a result of the increased migration to their respective countries. But similar measures are not on the immediate agenda for Sweden, said Löfven earlier in the day.

"It's up to the police and the security police. We have so far not received any information from them indicating this," he told TT.

READ ALSO: Support for nationalists down amid refugee crisis

The Swedish Prime Minister spoke to reporters from New York where he is attending a United Nations summit on sustainable development. But with leaders such as Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and Syrian envoy Staffan de Mistura also present, the ongoing refugee crisis is likely to be high on the agenda.

Story continues below…

"I am also going to meet Iraq's prime minister and Iran's President Rouhani, they are important players," said Löfven, who faces a busy couple of days in New York.

On Saturday he is set to speak at the anti-poverty New York Global Citizen Festival, where he will mingle with icons including Beyonce and Salma Hayek. The Swedish prime minister was personally invited by Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin to the event, his press secretary revealed to The Local last week.

He confirmed that the Swedish leader would focus on gender inequality, poverty and improving access to clean water and sanitation facilities in the developing world in his address at the festival.

"The Prime Minister is proud to represent Sweden, a small country that is yet so well known for its unwavering commitment to fighting inequality," he added.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Drunken Christmas goat burner risks four years in jail
The Christmas goat looks at the fireworks and contemplates its future. Photo: Mats Åstrand/TT

His singed eyebrows were a dead giveaway.

Joe Biden: 'Sweden has shown great leadership'
Joe Biden, left, and Stefan Löfven. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

US Vice President Joe Biden praised Sweden for "punching way above its weight" in the global refugee crisis.

Nepal's Sherpas rebuild Swedish mountain paths
Kebnekaise, Sweden's highest mountain. Photo: Stockholms Universitet

Nepalese sherpas have been called in to improve hillwalking safety on Sweden's highest mountain Kebnekaise.

23 people tricked into renting the same Malmö apartment
Sweden's housing market is notoriously tricky. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

"I have never felt so stupid and so conned."

Sweden on standby to help earthquake-hit Italy
Rescue workers search through the debris. Photo: AP Photo/Sandro Perozzi

Swedish authorities are ready, if asked, to quickly assist Italy as it recovers from a deadly earthquake.

We harmed Sweden's teachers and should apologize: prof
A tired pupil at a school in Stockholm. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

"The situation is very worrying," says Professor Jonas Linderoth.

US keeper kicked off team for calling Swedes cowards
Hope Solo made her comments after Sweden knocked the US team out of the Olympics. Photo: Eugenio Savio/AP

The US team will be Hope-less for six months.

Five must-see cultural events in Sweden this weekend
Like The Bridge? You'll love one of the events we've picked out for this weekend. Photo: Erland Vinberg/TT

The summer is almost over but Sweden saved the best for last with these cultural events this weekend – including one that will make The Bridge fans happy.

Was there a secret plot to kill Swedish ex-UN chief?
Dag Hammarskjöld, the UN's Secretary General, pictured months before his death in 1961. Photo: TT

Ban Ki-moon wants to find out.

Joe Biden to arrive in Sweden for refugee talks
Stefan Löfven meets Joe Biden during a visit to Washington in March 2015. Photo: Monica Enqvist/Government Offices of Sweden

US Vice President Joe Biden will arrive in Stockholm on Wednesday evening ahead of talks with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven that are expected to focus on migration and refugees.

Sponsored Article
Malmö to host global skateboard championship
Gallery
People-watching: August 24th
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
The Local Voices
'I want to be a businesswoman but I don’t care about money'
National
Experts: Gothenburg grenade blast is 'part of a cycle of violence'
Blog updates

23 August

A Summer in Sweden (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"For our first year here in Sweden we decided to have all our holidays in Sweden.…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
The mystique of Asia - in the middle of Stockholm
Gallery
Property of the week: Karlsborg
Sponsored Article
Why you should learn to trade (and just how easy it is)
National
Why Sweden could change its criticised detention laws
National
Watch this dog's reaction when she tries Swedish fermented herring
Gallery
People-watching: August 19th-21st
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
National
How to find student housing in Sweden
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
National
VIDEO: Swede films first Northern Lights of the season
Gallery
People-watching: August 17th
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Society
Swedish population nears ten million
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
The Local Voices
This Syrian artist found love in a Swedish library
National
Sex pigs halt traffic after laser attack on Pokémon teens. Only in Sweden.
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
Gallery
Property of the week: Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
Drunk knight detained in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Can you solve this Swede's strange Star Wars mystery?
Gallery
People-watching: August 12th-14th
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
National
Swedes cheer first snow of the season
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Gallery
People-watching: August 10th
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
The Local Voices
Syrian presenter: Swedish media should make more shows in Arabic
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Travel
Watch the meteor shower in Sweden
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Lifestyle
How to survive a crayfish party
Gallery
IN PICS: Your Sweden summer snaps
The Local Voices
Gabriel mastered Swedish and got accepted onto a medicine degree in just 7 months
3,361
jobs available