According to Löfven, the apology Billström offered on Monday after a storm of criticism over comments made to the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper is not enough.
“The criticism directed toward Billström is warranted. Now it’s up to the head of the government to explain how things stand,” Löfven told reporters, demanding that Reinfeldt “steer clear” of categorizing people according to hair and skin colour.
Löfven argued that several recent statements from the ruling Moderate Party raised questions about the stance of the party and its representatives on migration issues.
Specifically, Löfven pointed to statements made by Billström earlier this year arguing that Sweden should reduce the “volume” of immigration, as well as the migration minister’s “blonde and blue-eyed” formulation in discussing who generally helps immigrants who try to hide in Sweden illegally.
“We can’t differentiate people by their skin and hair colour,” he said, adding that it wasn’t up to him to decide whether or not Billström should be sacked.
“That’s up to the head of government,” Löfven added.
“But you can’t just gloss over it, there’s been too much of it.”
When asked about the Social Democrats’ position on immigration, Löfven said his party was not at odds with the government when it came to deporting people who have had their asylum applications rejected.
He added that, while it wasn’t his position to comment on what the police should prioritize, officers shouldn’t be hunting people in the Stockholm metro system based on their appearance.