Sweden's PM: 'We don't want Chinatown, Somalitown, or Little Italy'

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Sweden's PM: 'We don't want Chinatown, Somalitown, or Little Italy'
Sweden's prime minister Magdalena Andersson rallies supporters at Malmö's Folkets Park on Saturday: Johan Nilsson/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister has restated her determination to reduce housing segregation in the country's cities, while underlining that this does not have to mean "forcibly moving people".


In an interview with the Dagens Nyheter newspaper, Magdalena Andersson said that her goal for Sweden was that there should not in future be such extreme "ethnic clusters" in big cities as there are today. 

"That's not my ambition for Sweden, but instead that we should live mixed up together, that Swedish should be spoken in all housing areas, and that Swedish equality should apply everywhere," she said.

"We do not want to have Chinatowns in Sweden, we do not want to have Somalitowns or Little Italies. Our starting point is a society where people with different backgrounds, experiences and income live together and meet one another. That's how we will create a cohesive society." 


She stressed, however, that combatting segregation would not necessarily require people to be forcibly evicted from the areas where they live, as has been happening in Denmark, where governments of both left and right have launched plans to reduce housing segregation. 

"We can't just forcibly move people," Andersson said. "There are other ways to work towards this. One way, which has been done successfully in some municipalities, is to build attractive cooperative housing in the Miljonprogram areas. Then you get a mixed population." 

When the interviewer noted that the Social Democrats' future possible coalition partners, the Green Party, Left Party, and Centre Party had all reacted strongly against a suggestion from Sweden's immigration minister, Anders Ygeman, that there should ideally be no more than 50 percent non-Nordic people in any housing area, Andersson argued that nothing he had said should be controversial. 

"To live segregated is not our future vision for Sweden," she said, adding that the party should have taken action much earlier to prevent heavily segregated areas developing in the first place. 

"We should have worked more on [combatting] segregation to prevent recruitment [to gangs] than we have done," she said. 

Reducing ethnic segregation was not, however, the only preventative measure needed to stop recruitment to gangs in the country's vulnerable areas. 

"I believe we also need to have closer cooperation with municipalities and municipal politicians with extremely vulnerable areas, so that they actually invest in these areas, so that there are well-functioning social services, good schools, leisure activities and civic life." 


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