Polish MEP Beata Mazurek singled out Sweden as an example of negative “consequences of multiculturalism and open doors to immigration”, saying “Swedes are fleeing their country to find peace and normality in Poland”.
In 2018, 1,689 people moved from Sweden to Poland, including 1,377 Polish-born people and 241 Swedes. In the same period, 3,851 people moved from Poland to Sweden, according to Statistics Sweden.
Mazurek, a former spokesperson for the Polish national-conservative party Law and Justice and current member of the European Parliament's group of European Conservatives and Reformists ( ECR), falsely claimed there were “sharia zones” in Sweden and listed “murders, increased crime, rape” as consequences of Sweden's immigration policy.
Johansson told Swedish daily Aftonbladet that the claims were false, citing immigration and crime statistics.
“It's completely pulled out of the air,” he said. “In 2017-2018 alone, more than 8,000 Poles moved to Sweden, more than three times the total number of Swedes who live in Poland. The MEP should therefore rather ask herself why so many Poles are 'fleeing' Poland.”
He added: “Something which we actually do have a problem with is foreign gangs of thieves, not least from Poland. Foreign gangs are behind around half of all break-ins in Sweden and 90 percent of all thefts of cars, boat engines, and agricultural machinery. If the MEP can do something about that, I'd be grateful.”
The country does not keep official records on the ethnicity of perpetrators, but a recent government-ordered study by National Council on Crime Prevention (Brå) found no link between the rise in reported rapes and assaults and the arrival of refugees.
While Sweden has seen a rise in reported rapes since 2005, this was said by Brå to be likely due to “the expanding of the legal definition of rape” that year. Another factor is the way in which sexual crimes are reported in Sweden, where all reported events are recorded as crimes and several offences of the same type are recorded separately, whereas many other countries would count multiple rapes or assaults by the same perpetrator as one offence.
Mazurek shared an article from the conservative daily newspaper Nasz Dennik, according to which there are 2,500 Swedish citizens resident in Poland. Citing a Twitter survey conducted by Norway-based far-right account PeterSweden it stated that many Swedes wanted to leave the country for “their safety and that of their families”.
The article also falsely stated that Sweden was home to 80 neighbourhoods “practically controlled by Islamists, where Sharia is in force”, with Stockholm's Rinkeby suburb as “the largest” and saying “the police don't show up there, the ambulance can't come in, there is chaos”.
Rinkeby is one of around 60 neighbourhoods described by police as 'vulnerable' or 'especially vulnerable', meaning they are “characterized by a low socio-economic status where criminals have an impact on the local community”.
These areas, including Rinkeby, sometimes require emergency services to act differently – for example avoiding parking vehicles in certain areas due to higher than average vandalism, or engaging in long-term community building work, but police officers working in these areas have previously told The Local there are no “no-go zones” in Sweden.