'Sweden is approaching the limit of its capacity'

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 21 Oct, 2015 Updated Wed 21 Oct 2015 16:26 CEST
'Sweden is approaching the limit of its capacity'

Sweden is reaching maximum capacity for accepting refugees, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said as he visited a centre for asylum seekers in Trelleborg.


Trelleborg in southern Sweden is one of several municipalities that have warned they are struggling to cope with the record-high flow of refugees to the Nordic country.

The small coastal town is currently experiencing its biggest influx of refugees to date, with several thousand people turning up every week since the start of September, according to authorities.

"[It warms my heart] when I see the work being carried out. It makes me warm and proud to be prime minister in Sweden," the Social Democrat leader, who is a vocal supporter of accepting refugees fleeing war in Africa and the Middle East, told reporters as he visited an asylum reception centre in the town on Wednesday.

His comments came as Sweden's Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) revealed that almost 99,000 people have so far launched asylum cases in 2015. And Löfven admitted that the Nordic country may no longer be able to continue its high rate of receiving refugees.

"The work being carried out is fantastic, but at the same time it expresses what we know, that we are approaching the limit of our reception capacity," he said.

He did not, however, comment on rumours emerging in Sweden on Wednesday that the government and five other mainstream parties are mulling the introduction of border checks to stem the influx.

Löfven's ruling Social Democrat-Green coalition is set to meet with representatives from the Left Party, the Moderates, Liberals, Centre Party and the Christian Democrats on Thursday to continue discussion attempting to reach a cross-bloc agreement on the refugee crisis.

READ ALSO: Lone refugee kids to top 30,000 in Sweden

Meanwhile, with Sweden's first tent camp for refugees expected to be ready in a couple of weeks, authorities are searching the country for more spots where similar accommodation could be set up.

Home Affairs Minister Anders Ygeman spoke to a large crowd of reporters while on a separate visit to Revingehed - another town in southern Sweden - on Wednesday, where the first 75 heated tents are set to be erected to provide temporary homes for asylum seekers arriving in the Nordic country.

"I think this works pretty well. It's not intended to be a lifelong solution but housing for a short period of time. But it's good that it's warm and tidy," he said after inspecting five tents set up to give him and media an idea of how the camp could look.

Home Affairs Minister Anders Ygeman in one of the refugee tents. Photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT

In the meantime, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) said it was working to find more locations where similar camps could be set up.

"The government has tasked us with, together with other authorities, look at land, project planning, and estimation of costs to see if we could put up more tents in suitable locations in Sweden. That work is currently under way," MSB director general Helena Lindberg told the TT newswire.


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