SWEDEN will reverse its open refugee regime and only allow in the ‘EU minimum’ according to Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, who said his country needed ‘respite’ in the face of a dramatic rise in the numbers of people seeking asylum.
The Nordic nation has been a beacon of light for imperiled asylum seekers amid a much cooler welcome in other EU countries. Refugee rights have been a consistent symbol of the governing Social Democrats and junior coalition partner the Green party.
With arrival numbers recently increasing to 10,000 each week, however, the practicalities are proving too difficult according to Löfven.
“It pains me that Sweden is no longer capable of receiving asylum seekers at the high level we do today. We simply cannot do any more,” he said on Tuesday while announcing further identity checks.
Officers patrolling Sweden’s southern coast will double to help control a situation that has left recent arrivals sleeping rough in Malmö. The army has also been drafted in to help manage the fallout from the roughly 170,000 refugees expected to have entered by the end of the year.
Meanwhile the right-wing nationalist Sweden Democrat party, now the largest in the country, has criticised the proposals as not going far enough.
The political mood throughout the country has shifted with opposing parties torn between ideological opposition to the admittance of refugees and those advocating strong humanitarian integration.