In September alone, 12 have been killed in shootings and explosions on Swedish streets that can be related to clan and gang crime. The violence is linked to the country’s enormous reception of migrants in the last 20 years. Sweden wants to tighten the rules also in the EU to stop the development.
The Swedish Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard (M / EPP) was satisfied this summer when the European Council, under her leadership, agreed on tougher external border control and stricter rules for how asylum seekers should be handled in the Union.
The intention is thus to limit the possibilities of seeking protection in Europe and to be able to quickly return those who do not have grounds for asylum. Whether it will meet the goal of discouraging migrants from seeking Europe’s borders remains to be seen.
Two countries opposed the agreement: Hungary and Poland, mainly because they do not believe that Europe should have an asylum system. Four countries abstained for various reasons from voting: Bulgaria, Malta, Lithuania and Slovakia.
The Swedish migration minister also had to face criticism on her home turf. The centre-right government cooperates with the Sweden Democrats (ECR) in parliament and the party is skeptical that the migration pact is sufficient to prevent new flows of economic migrants.
Large migration has caused a wave of violence
During 2015 there was a period of significantly increased movement of refugees and migrants into Europe. 1.3 million people came to the continent to request asylum.
A disproportionately large proportion made it all the way up to Sweden. As many as 20.4 percent of the inhabitants of Sweden were born abroad in 2022. This can be compared with 2.6 percent in Poland, 10.5 percent in Italy, 12.6 percent in France and 18.0 percent in Germany (source Eurostat). If you add those with a foreign background, defined as born abroad or with both parents born abroad, this proportion amounts to 27 percent in Sweden.
The high proportion of residents with a foreign background has resulted in growing clan and gang crime. The police are at a loss and do not know how to deal with the gross capital of violence that these gangs possess. Violence also decreases with age. The police are now arresting 10-year-olds with automatic weapons. In other words, Sweden has child soldiers, like in Africa.
Opinion against migration is growing
The development means that more and more people in Sweden are not satisfied with reduced immigration, but want to see the government deport more people and pursue a policy of return migration. This means that many people perceive the EU’s migration pact as completely inadequate. The external borders must be closed.
When the British conservative interior minister Suella Braverman in a speech in Washington DC warned of uncontrolled immigration as an existential threat to the West, she also expressed what many in Sweden feel. The United Nations Refugee Convention from 1951 is obsolete and must be rewritten. The rules need to be significantly stricter, she said.
Here, the EU should better capture the risks of lax regulations. The Swedish government is now tightening all national laws so that they are at the strictest level allowed within the EU regulations.
Closer to settlement this fall
Now at the end of September, the member states’ migration ministers hope to agree on the last pieces of the puzzle to get a new migration pact in place.
But are the compromises enough to stop the dangerous and deadly boat journeys of migrants across the Mediterranean and prevent communities and citizens from being overwhelmed by large volumes of illegal migrants that countries cannot cope with?
Will the EU’s external borders be satisfactorily monitored and will asylum procedures at the EU’s external borders be swift and return in the event of refusal firmly implemented?
Here, the European Union has a historically important task to show action and convince the citizens of Europe that the Union is capable of taking tough decisions.