The Social Democrat Prime Minister announced an initiative called ‘Sweden Together’ (‘Sverige tillsammans’) on Thursday morning.
He said that municipalities, religious groups, sports associations, unions and public sector employers would all be invited to a major conference in October to discuss how to help refugees better integrate into Swedish communities.
The Prime Minister told Swedish public broadcaster Sveriges Radio that he wanted a more even distribution of refugees across all 290 municipalities in Sweden, a policy that has been pushed by Sweden's integration minister Ylva Johansson in recent months.
At a press conference in Stockholm at midday, ahead of cross-party talks on the refugee crisis, Löfven said there would be a large focus on getting refugees into schooling and the work force.
The leaders of Sweden’s centre-right Alliance parties which made up former Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s previous government are set to attend discussions with Löfven later in the day, along with the leaders of the government’s coalition partners the Greens and the Left Party. The nationalist anti-immigration Sweden Democrat party has not been invited.
“We must have a political gathering, both about what we’re doing here at home in Sweden, but also what Sweden stands for in the EU,” said Löfven, adding that it was currently “unhelpful” that Sweden and Germany were currently sharing the bulk of responsibility for new arrivals.
Sweden’s Prime Minister met Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin earlier this week. Both leaders told a press conference that they backed the introduction of new quotas to force other European countries to take in more refugees, as is being proposed by the European Commission.
The Nordic nation currently takes in more refugees per capita than any other EU member state.
Sweden’s Migration Board (Migrationsverket) received a total of 11,743 applications for asylum last month, up from 6,619 in June and 8,066 in July, as an increasing number of refugees headed for Scandinavia over the summer.