• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
EU's future in peril if we can't help Greece says Sweden PM
Migrants wait to have errors in their transit documents corrected by Greek authorities at a camp in Idomeni on March 3rd. Photo: AP/Petros Giannakouris

EU's future in peril if we can't help Greece says Sweden PM

TT/AFP/The Local · 4 Mar 2016, 10:01

Published: 04 Mar 2016 10:01 GMT+01:00

“We’re facing a humanitarian catastrophe. The EU needs now to come to Greece’s aid,” the Prime Minister told the Swedish parliament’s EU committee on Friday morning. 

Löfven described the continued large influx of refugees as one of the greatest challenges the European Union has ever faced. 

“If we’re not able to manage this we actually put the entire EU cooperation at risk,” he said.

The Prime Minister’s comments come ahead of a March 7th summit in Brussels which will see Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and the leaders of the 28 EU states discuss the progress of last November's EU-Turkey deal aimed at cutting the flow of refugees and migrants.

Under that deal, Turkey agreed to tackle people smugglers and improve conditions for Syrian refugees in exchange for €3 billion and speeding up Ankara's EU membership bid.

But alarm is growing in EU capitals as thousands of people are still reaching the Greek islands from Turkey after more than one million made the perilous journey last year.

“Turkey needs to do more,” said Löfven. 

Failure to make progress at the summit will spell "disaster" for the bloc, EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said last week, with its passport-free Schengen zone at risk.

Relations with Turkey have been increasingly tense, with Erdogan even threatening to flood Europe with refugees if Ankara did not get more help during a November visit by Tusk and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker.

Supporting Athens

Speaking in Vienna earlier this week, the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, said EU members had to "fully apply" the Schengen border code and restore effective controls on the EU's external frontier in Greece.

He said he was "opening a new chapter of our struggle with the migration crisis called 'Back to Schengen'".

"It's not an easy decision but the truth is there is no alternative to (Schengen)," he said.

"We must face together the humanitarian consequences of our decision. The country which we must support in particular is Greece."

"A test of our European-ness will be, on the one hand, going back to Schengen, and on the other (having) a readiness to stand by Athens during these hard times."

But in reference to unilateral new measures by Austria and countries through the western Balkans to limit migrant numbers, Tusk called on EU members to "coordinate more and better".

"It is natural that important decisions are taken in the capitals but we need to make sure that these decisions are coordinated so they are effective, reinforce each other instead of eroding trust further," Tusk said in Slovenia.

Story continues below…

The tightening of border restrictions has led to a bottleneck of migrants and refugees in Greece, with several thousand stranded on the border with non-EU Macedonia.

On Monday Macedonian police fired tear gas at hundreds of people who tried to break through a border fence.

Sweden extends border checks

Sweden said on Wednesday it was extending the border checks put in place to stem the flow of refugees that saw record numbers apply for asylum last year. 

Sweden received 163,000 asylum applications in 2015, however it has seen the number of migrant arrivals fall sharply since it introduced police border controls in November, followed by passenger ID checks at ferry terminals and Copenhagen Airport's train station at the turn of the year.

Between 500 and 600 asylum applications per week are currently being registered, compared with 10,000 in late October.

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

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Kidnappers with chainsaw abduct man in Stockholm
File photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Armed kidnappers bundled a man into a van and drove off with him shortly after noon on Friday outside the Bromma Blocks shopping centre on the outskirts of Stockholm.

Why Swedes are so relaxed about taking gap years
Anna Tybrandt and her friends in Malaysia/Photo: Private

But the French aren't so keen.

Euro 2016
How Iceland made Swedes 'proud to be Nordic'
Fans react in Reykjavic after Iceland defeat England. Photo: Brynjar Gunnarsson

Sweden failed to make it past the group stages at Euro 2016. The fans needed a new team, and now they've got one.

Why this Swedish police dog has been hailed as a hero
Äddie the police dog has finally retired after ten years on the job. Photo: Christer Torlen

A heart-warming Stockholm Police tribute to Äddie the retiring police dog has attracted hundreds of replies and thousands of likes on Facebook.

Five facts on Manchester United-bound Ibrahimovic
Ibrahimovic is on his way to Old Trafford. Here's everything you need to know. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has finally confirmed his next choice of club. Here are five facts on the Swedish striker after he announced he is signing for Manchester United on Thursday.

Swedish state appeals against Roma register ruling
Fred Taikon was one of the eleven victims. Photo: Maja Suslin

A court ruling judged that the Swedish state should pay out compensation to eleven victims of ethnic discrimination, but an appeal has now been launched.

Ikea opens massive museum in Sweden
A scene from the museum in Älmhult. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

Flatpack enthusiasts rejoice: Ikea has just opened a 7,000 square metre museum in the building that once housed its original store.

The Local Recipes
How to make a Swedish chicken and strawberry salad
Chicken and strawberry: a better combination than it may seem. Photo: SwedishFood.com

Easy to prepare, this chicken and strawberry salad is the meal you need this weekend, trust us!

Ibrahimovic confirms Manchester United move
Ibrahimovic playing for Sweden at Euro 2016. Photo: Thanassis Stavrakis/TT

Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has put months of speculation over his future to an end by confirming that he will join Manchester United.

Man detained in Sweden over poison plot
Uppsala University. Photo: David Naylor/Uppsala universitet

The case, which involved assistance from the FBI, regards poisonous substance ricin that was allegedly stolen from Uppsala University to aid a blackmail plot.

Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
National
'A Swedish passport means more than a British one now'
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
The Local Voices
The Syrian body-building champion fighting the urge to eat sweets in Sweden
Business & Money
Swedish banknotes expire this week
Blog updates

1 July

Editor’s blog, July 1st (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello and welcome to this week’s news round-up. The fall-out from the Brexit vote has come…" READ »

 

28 June

A message for British expats in Sweden (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"The people of the United Kingdom have voted to leave the European Union. As Prime Minister…" READ »

 
 
 
Gallery
People-watching: June 29th
Sponsored Article
International students in Stockholm partner with Nepal school
International
Foul-mouthed attack on young Swedish mother in England
Private
The Local Voices
'Having a Middle Eastern name makes life in Sweden hard'
National
Is this Swede the new Vincent van Gogh?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Politics
Citizenship applications up 500% for Brits in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
The humble Swede who sent England home from Euro 2016
Gallery
Property of the week: Torhamn
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Private
The Local Voices
'Sweden is the best place for people with special needs'
Sponsored Article
The man behind Sweden's biggest music festival
International
'A morning of sorrow': Sweden reacts to Brexit vote
International
Sweden opposition cools talk of 'Swexit' poll
Sponsored Article
US expats: Have you met your tax deadlines?
International
'Devastated' - Brits in Sweden shocked by Brexit vote
Sponsored Article
Malmö: Home to the best food in Sweden?
Gallery
People-watching: June 22nd
Sponsored Article
VIDEO: Why Malmö is the world's 6th best city for biking
Private
The Local Voices
'Swedes don't treat me differently because I wear a hijab'
Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
Culture
How do Swedes celebrate Midsummer?
Culture
Coming soon: Sweden’s smelly fermented fish
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
National
Assange lawyer: Sweden should recognize UN opinion
Private
The Local Voices
Why is this Syrian dentist who hugs like a Swede worried about undies?
Swedish nationalist 'shot and ate' lion and giraffe
Analysis & Opinion
'Sweden's residency revamp is harmful and inhumane'
Photo: The Local
The Local Voices
UNHCR boss: 'It's hard to start your life without your family'
3,314
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se