1674683553 Sweden wants to become the least attractive country in Europe

Sweden wants to become “the least attractive country in Europe” to deter asylum seekers

Swedish Immigration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard during a press conference in Stockholm on October 18, 2022. Swedish Immigration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard during a news conference in Stockholm October 18, 2022. CHRISTINE OLSSON / TT NEWS AGENCY VIA AFP

Officially, Sweden’s Democrats (SD, extreme right) are not part of the government. Conservatives, Liberals and Christian Democrats keep repeating this. And yet, when the Minister for Immigration, Maria Malmer Stenergard, gave a press conference on Tuesday January 24th to present the new orientations of Swedish migration policy, she came, accompanied by the leader of the SD in Parliament, MP Henrik Vinge, into office to do half of the presentation.

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Among the most important measures announced two days before the meeting of European justice and home affairs ministers on Thursday 26th and Friday 27th January in Stockholm is the launch of an international information campaign aimed at reaching out to the rest of the world to let it be known that Sweden “the paradigm” in relation to asylum and immigration. We must “put an end to the absurdity” which, according to the minister, “is for the Swedish administration to advertise Sweden abroad as a country with many advantages, which has helped people come here”.

“paradigm shift”

From now on, the Scandinavian kingdom “will not be more generous in terms of asylum than is required by European law and international conventions,” commented Ms. Malmer Stenergard. At his side, Henrik Vinge, who began his career as the SD’s communications chief before becoming one of its leaders, assured that the government had already done a lot since taking office on October 18, particularly to speed up the evictions.

But “in order for this paradigm shift to make a breakthrough, we need to spread information about the new migration policy more,” explained the minister. Hence the campaign announced by the government, with rather vague outlines, aimed at Swedish administrations abroad, embassies in Stockholm and non-Swedish media.

In 2015, Denmark and Norway bought advertising inserts in newspapers in Lebanon and Afghanistan to discourage exile candidates from going there. In March 2020, SD leader Jimmie Akesson went to the Greek-Turkish border to distribute leaflets, claiming that Sweden was “full”.

According to Ms. Malmer Stenegard, there is no need to resort to such methods: “We must not underestimate word of mouth,” she insisted, arguing that if “163,000 people crossed all of Europe in 2015 to join small and cold Sweden “, because they knew “that the rules were more lenient here.” On Riks TV, the far-right channel, Henrik Vinge clarified that the aim of the majority is to make Sweden “the least attractive country in Europe”, encouraging asylum seekers and smugglers , “to choose another country”.