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IMMIGRATION

Sweden plans international campaign to promote migration ‘paradigm shift’

In a joint press conference, Moderate Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard and Sweden Democrat parliamentary group leader Henrik Vinge announced the campaign, which they hope will discourage refugees from coming to Sweden.

Sweden plans international campaign to promote migration 'paradigm shift'
Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard and Sweden Democrat parliamentary group leader Henrik Vinge in the press conference. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

The “international information campaign” will promote the “paradigm shift” currently taking place in Swedish migration policy, and will be aimed at foreign authorities and other authorities working internationally, Malmer Stenergard said.

“In the long run, the goal is that fewer people will come here,” she said.

The campaign will also target foreign media and foreign embassies in Sweden.

“Currently, two thirds of those coming to Europe do not have a valid reason for protection,” Malmer Stenergard said. “Many of them will be forced to return, and even more so under this government and collaborating party [the Sweden Democrats].”

Sweden’s current government consists of the Moderates, Christian Democrats and the Liberals, with the support of the Sweden Democrats, who are not in government. Its policy document, the Tidö Agreement, is co-authored by all four parties and covers seven different policy areas, of which migration and integration is the largest.

“Many migrants place their lives in the hands of refugee smugglers, and will still have to return later. If they receive information on which rules apply here, we’ll reduce the risk of suffering for these people and can focus on those who actually need protection to a greater extent,” said Malmer Stenergard.

The message of the campaign will focus on informing people in other countries of planned changes to Sweden’s migration policy, which will include tighter rules for family reunification, stricter maintenance requirements and stricter rules for citizenship, she explained.

The number of refugees arriving in Sweden increased in 2022 to 17,000, compared to 11,000 the year before, but down from around 21,000 in 2019.

“In particular, I think this measure is important in the short-term to lower the pressure of asylum seekers on Sweden,” Henrik Vinge, the Sweden Democrat parliamentary group leader, said.

The plan so far is not to take out advertisements in foreign newspapers, for example, with the government instead hoping that information will spread by word of mouth.

“You can’t underestimate how quickly information can spread by word of mouth,” Malmer Stenergard said. “That’s why we need to work broadly, both through authorities but also through the media. After that, we believe it will spread naturally.”

Many of the proposed measures in the migration and integration section of the Tidö coalition agreement specifically target asylum seekers, including the goal of lowering the number of asylum seekers accepted per year to the lowest possible level under EU law, making it possible to withdraw residence permits for asylum seekers who are no longer in need of protection, abolishing permanent residence permits for asylum seekers, and “return migration” programmes to encourage asylum seekers to return to their countries of origin.

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POLITICS

Swedish PM’s top aide resigns over illegal eel fishing

One of Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson's top aides has resigned from his post after it emerged that he had been fined by police for illegally fishing for eels and had twice lied to the authorities about what happened.

Swedish PM's top aide resigns over illegal eel fishing

PM Nilsson lied twice to police about eel fishing equipment he was caught with, the second time after he was appointed as state secretary at the end of October. 

After the resignation, Kristersson said he was disappointed that Nilsson, who had previously been a columnist for the Dagens Industri newspaper, had had to step down. 

“I think of course that it is unfortunate that this situation has come about, but I understand his decision,” he said in a written comment to the TT newswire. “PM Nilsson has been a highly appreciated member of the team and is a highly competent person. We are going to miss him.” 

READ ALSO: Why a political aide’s eel denial is causing friction in Sweden

Nilsson announced his decision on Facebook, saying that he had already apologised and paid the fines. 

“I understand how improper it is to fish for eels without a permit and to not tell things as they were to the authorities, even if I have since then rung the police and admitted that I had caught 15 fish,” he wrote in the post. 

Nilsson was recently fined for poaching eel in 2021, and has admitted to having lied to police in a conversation just before Christmas when he claimed that the eel-fishing equipment he had been caught with was not his. He later regretted this decision and informed the police.  

In his Facebook post, Nilsson referred to media reports that police were now investigating him for a further crime of contravening a law to protect endangered species, saying he did not know if this were the case. 

The opposition Social Democrats on Monday referred Ulf Kristersson to the parliament’s Committee on the Constitution, requiring him to explain the situation around Nilsson, and about whether Kristersson knew of the poaching incident when he appointed him, and also on the security vetting which took place. 

“We need to get clarity about how the process of recruiting him took place,” Ardalan Shekarabi, the party’s justice spokesman, said. “What we are chiefly reacting against is that the state secretary lied to the authorities.”

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