• 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
Baby dies after midwife denies woman's request for c-section
Uppsala University Hospital. Photo: Fredrik Persson/TT

The midwife insisted on six attempts at vaginal birth before an emergency caesarean section was carried out.

Don't let them bite! Bedbugs proliferate in Swedish hotels
Swedish bedbug fighter Jonny Ström does his thing in 2014. Library photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

The number of bedbugs in Swedish hotels has doubled in recent years, according to figures from pest control firm Anticimex.

Swedish state agencies 'outsource jobs to spies'
The Stockholm headquarters of the Swedish Security Service, Säpo. File photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

Foreign countries are trying to infiltrate the Swedish state by winning government contracts, it has been claimed.

What's on in Sweden
The most stunning Swedish festival spots this week
The Norberg Festival at an old ore mine. Photo: Peo Bengtsson

How about a party on an island, in an old quarry or a former mining camp? That's all on offer in Sweden this week.

Swedish police backtrack on 'gunfight' claims
The scene of the shooting on June 22nd. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Police have retracted a claim that a suspected gunman had fired shots at a patrol unit before officers shot him dead.

Crayfish poachers send Swedes' blood boiling
Has anyone seen this crayfish? Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Oh no, not just before crayfish season!

Police hunt suspected gunman, 22, in Malmö
Rosengård Centrum. Photo: Simon Paulin/SvD/TT

Malmö police are looking for a 22-year-old suspect in connection with a shooting at a shopping centre in Rosengård.

Really old stinky cheese found on royal Swedish shipwreck
A diamond ring, the stinky cheese and gold coins. Photo: Lars Einarsson/Kalmar County Museum

Swedish scientists have discovered what is believed to be 340-year-old cheese on board a 17th century shipwreck.

Man charged with groping girls at kids' football cup
The accused in court. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

A 36-year-old sports manager whose team was sent home from Sweden after he was accused of groping three teenage girls at an international children's football tournament now faces trial.

Concern over barrage of fake Russian news in Sweden
The Russian propaganda site Sputnik News

Sweden is being subjected to constant disinformation campaigns by Russia and Isis, according to authorities.

Sponsored Article
What can newcomers learn about Sweden at Almedalen?
Politics
Why Sweden's high taxes are not as high as you think
National
What's haggis in a condom doing on Swedish children's TV?
National
Meet the northern Swede who is the world's best mosquito killer
Blog updates

26 July

A summer of change; a summer of beauty (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"You would have had to try hard to miss the political upheavals in the UK after…" 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
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
National
Sweden's Hollywood star Alicia Vikander puts her pen in the bottle
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
People-watching: July 22nd-24th
The Local Voices
The Jewish Syrian who dreams of rebuilding his country
National
Watch this Swedish weather host leave his fly open... on live TV
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
The Local Voices
'I fled war in Syria. I never expected to be beaten in Sweden'
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
National
WATCH: Asylum seeker brutally beaten by Swedish bus driver
Technology
Why everyone is talking about Sweden's GTA pride parade
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
EU hits truck cartel with record price fixing fine
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
Society
OPINION: Why Sweden is the most extreme country in the world
The Local Voices
'There is equality in accommodation in Sweden: Everyone is suffering'
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Gallery
Property of the week: Gräsö, Östhammar
Sponsored Article
Local guide: the best of Berlin
Gallery
People-watching: July 15th-17th
Sponsored Article
Why you need a EuroBonus American Express Card
National
How to make sure you're not caught out by Sweden's old bank notes
Business & Money
Why Sweden has been named the most innovative country in Europe
National
Terror attack: what should you do?
National
French expat on the moment he was assaulted by a Stockholm bouncer
Technology
Gunman? Nah, smartphone Swede
The Local Voices
'If the war in Syria ended today, would you go back?'
The Local Voices
‘I feel like I’m living in a grave!’
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Victoria celebrates 39th birthday
Gallery
People-watching: July 13th
National
Swedes discover surprise mountain
Politics
What Sweden's home secretary thinks of Britain's new PM
Gallery
Property of the week: Smedjebacken, Dalarna
The Local Voices
'Even xenophobic Swedes can be polite’
Politics
WATCH: A very Swedish take on Brexit...
The Local Voices
'The best time to be smuggled to Europe is August 20th, 2015'
The Local Voices
Swedes: Stop obsessing over your material life and start talking to strangers
3,351
jobs available