Sweden adopts a hard line: 80,000 refugees will be repatriated

Il governo socialdemocratico della Svezia ha annunciato l’organizzazione di voli charter per rimpatriare decine di migliaia di richiedenti asilo.

Sweden, one of the “promised lands” of migrants along with Germany and Norway, has announced its intention to repatriate tens of thousands of migrants: up to 80,000, according to what provided by Interior Minister Anders Ygeman in an interview with the newspaper Dagens Industri and the public service broadcaster SVT.


Those people reached the Scandinavian country throughout 2015 and have regularly filed their asylum application. Ygeman specified that the government already asked police forces and the Immigration Office to coordinate repatriations, which will be carried out with charter flights.



The response to the murder of a 22-year-old girl

Swedish authorities’ decision represents a response to the murder of a 22-year-old female employee of a refugee centre near Gothenburg on 25 February. The shelter hosted numerous young asylum seekers. One of them, 15, has been arrested by police.


However, the decision is also linked to internal policies. The huge flows of migrants registered in 2015 led to an increased hostility among citizens. It’s no coincidence that the extreme-right movement Sweden Democrats registered a record of consensus during the latest elections, reaching 12.9% and becoming the country’s third party.  


Social-democratic Sweden adopts a hard line

Throughout 2015, about 163,000 refugees requested asylum in Sweden, which has in turn analysed 58,800 applications so far (many dating back to 2014), accepting 55% of them. Those accepted are mainly Syrian migrants, followed by Afghans and Iraqis: three countries where people flee war and persecutions.


However, in November the social-democratic Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, alongside the spokeswoman of the Green Party, Asa Romsom, announced that the country can no longer receive such number of asylum seekers. From here stemmed on the one hand the decision of Schengen Agreement suspension, on the other hand to repatriate migrants.


After all, repatriation policies are no newness among European countries. In 2011, the then Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni announced the completion of the so called “extraordinary plan of repatriations”: tens of flights allowed expelling 3,385 Tunisians that reached Italy across the Mediterranean. And now Sweden is not alone: the Danish executive has in fact announced special measures, including the absurd law that allows police forces seize migrants’ valuables to cover the cost of their maintenance.


Repatriations are not that easy to be carried out

According to the French newspaper Le Figaro, carrying out repatriations is not so easy. On a legal level, in fact, Sweden invokes the Dublin Regulation, according to which the responsible Member State of an asylum claim is the state through which the asylum seeker first entered the European Union. However, the European Commission is trying to modify it, since it’s too burdensome for the countries most exposed, mainly Italy and Greece.


Furthermore, aware of the repatriation plan, thousands of migrants could opt for illegality, rather than accepting of being boarded on charters. Not to mention that some countries refuse to accept their citizens back, like Morocco and Afghanistan, which have for this reason started negotiations with Stockholm.

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