• 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
Swedes bake during 'record' warm September
Swedes relax on Malmö's Sundspromenaden at sunset on 14th September 2016. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

New record temperatures are expected in a number of places across the country.

Where to see the Northern Lights in Sweden
The Northern Lights pictured in Sweden on Wednesday night. Photo: Norrsken Sverige

An unusually high level of solar activity means the spectacle could be visible from rare spots in the country.

Swedish police 'in crisis' says union head
A file photo of Swedish police officers. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

The creation of a new merged national police authority in Sweden has not gone well, according to the Swedish Police Union.

Nobel Prizes 2016
Nobel Literature Prize announcement delayed
Haruki Murakami (pictured) is one of the bookmakers' favourites. Photo: Bernat Armangue/AP/TT

The delay is due to 'arithmetic', an academician said.

Horny elk hold up Swedish hunt
One of the randy animals in question. Photo: Mikael Fritzon/TT

The giant things just can't contain themselves.

Sweden to ban masks but not burqas at football matches
A masked supporter at a Stockholm derby football match last year. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

The ban is designed to curb violence at sporting events in Sweden, but it must also follow conventions on religious freedom.

Video
Heckler humbles Swedish golf champion with perfect putt
Henrik Stenson met his match in the final practice for the Ryder Cup. Photo: Charlie Riedel/AP/TT

Well that wasn't supposed to happen...

Presented by Invest Stockholm
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges

It’s no secret that Stockholm is serious about sustainability. We took a look at how the city's emerging startups are tackling global challenges, making the world a better place.

Warm weather melts H&M profits
An H&M store in central Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

A warm autumn may be good news for Swedes, but it was bad news for Sweden's biggest clothing brand.

Rail delays after heavy winds batter Sweden
The weather is expected to clear up. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Commuters were advised to take it easy in traffic on Friday, after harsh winds toppled trees across roads and railways across Sweden.

Sponsored Article
‘I view the world in a different way now’
National
OPINION: Sweden bad, Norway good, Trump better? I'm confused
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
National
Here's how much Sweden's highest-earning authors make
National
Where to see the Northern Lights in Sweden
Blog updates

27 September

Cutting your nose …. (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Last week, Jeremy Browne, the Special Representative for the City of London, visited Sweden. Jeremy was…" READ »

 

7 September

Svensk or svenska? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! My inbox is full of questions :-). Here’s one about when to use “svensk” and…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Expat finances in Sweden: the Common Reporting Standard
Gallery
People-watching: September 28th
Sponsored Article
Let's Talk: a personal Swedish language tutor in your pocket
National
Aliens' sex lives? Why Swedes want Nasa to send a condom into space
Analysis & Opinion
'If Sweden really wants startups, drop the red tape on migration'
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Trump an 'embarrassment' Springsteen tells Sweden
Sponsored Article
'Creating a sense of home': Collective living in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: September 23rd-25th
Politics
Russian Sweden Democrat aide resigns over suspect deal
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
Muslim teacher leaves job after not shaking male colleague's hand
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
Travel
Why we adore autumn in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 21st
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Stockholmers hunt killer badger after attack on neighbourhood hipster cat
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Six key points in Sweden's budget plan
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
The Local Voices
How a Swedish name finally made recruiters notice this Iranian's CV
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Gallery
Property of the week: Luleå
Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden’s ’a-kassa’
Gallery
People-watching: September 16th-18th
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Culture
Why Swedish TV has given these kids' trucks a sex swap
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
National
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Gallery
People-watching: September 14th
Politics
Why Sweden is putting troops on holiday dream island Gotland
The Local Voices
'What I mean when I say: I came here to blow myself up'
Society
VIDEO: Are Swedes that unfriendly?
The Local Voices
'Whenever I apply for jobs I’m treated like an unwanted stranger'
2,997
jobs available