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Swedish refugee support drops as numbers rise

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Swedish refugee support drops as numbers rise
Migrants arriving in Greece this week. Photo: TT/AP/Marko Drobnjakovic
14:45 CET+01:00
A new poll suggests growing numbers of Swedes want their country to take in fewer migrants, as the nation continues to welcome an unprecedented influx of asylum seekers.

The poll by Sifo, published in the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper, found 41 percent of respondents said Sweden should grant fewer residency permits to refugees -- compared to just 29 percent in September.

Of the 1,000 people questioned between November 2nd and 5th, a quarter wanted the number to remain at current levels, while 17 percent wanted an increase and 16 percent were undecided.

Sweden has taken more refugees per capita than any other country in Europe as the continent struggles with its worst migration crisis since World War Two, and is expecting up to 190,000 asylum seekers this year.

"When we polled opinion in September, the developments and the debate were completely different. Today the prime minister (Stefan Löfven) is asking to redistribute (in the European Union) the refugees who have come here," said Toivo Sjören, head of polling at Sifo.

An Ipsos poll published on Saturday in Sweden's Dagens Nyheter newspaper similarly indicated a shift in attitudes, suggesting 26 percent think the Scandinavian country should welcome more migrants, down from 44 percent in September.

Men and right-wing voters tended to take more negative views of migrants, with 96 percent of the far-right Sweden Democrats' supporters saying fewer should be granted residency.

Rising opposition to the newcomers can also be seen on social media.

According to a study conducted by Svenska Dagbladet, 35 percent of the most shared posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram containing the Swedish word for "refugees" expressed a negative opinion about the issue in October, compared to 21 percent in September.

A tweet by Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet showing the leaflets being handed out in Greece

READ ALSO: Weekly asylum claims top 10,000 in Sweden

The Sifo poll was released as the nationalist Sweden Democrat party released further information about its latest campaign designed to discourage would-be asylum seekers from travelling to the Nordic nation.

Joakim Wallerstein, head of communicatons for the anti-immigration group confirmed to the TT news agency on Monday that it was handing out flyers to refugees who had made their way to six countries including Greece, Turkey and Hungary. The leaflets have the headline "no money, no jobs, no housing". They claim that gang-related violence and rape have increased as a result of mass immigration and falsely state that it is forbidden to wear the burqa in Sweden.
 
"We want to attack the illusion that there is a life of luxury in Sweden," said Wallerstein.
 
The party is also planning a television commercial campaign in Syria and Afghanistan, which it says is costing "millions" of Swedish kronor.
 
Responding to the far-right group's tactics, Sweden's Migration Minister Morgan Johansson told reporters in Brussels on Monday that the Sweden Democrats were "talking shit about Sweden".
 
He said that the nationalists had painted a picture of the Nordic nation that was "not true" and argued that "Sweden's global reputation is very strong".
 

Sweden's Migration Minister Morgan Johansson has accused the Sweden Democrats of "talking shit" about his country. Photo: Pontus Lindahl/TT
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