Sweden Demands Refugee Burden Sharing from the European Union Member States

Image via Wall Street Journal

Image via Wall Street Journal

“Sweden Wants Rest of EU to Share Refugee Burden,” by Niclas Rolander and Matina Stevis for the Wall Street Journal:

Last September, Sweden became the only European Union country to offer permanent residence to Syrians fleeing their devastated homeland. Now, strained by its own generosity, it is losing patience with what is calls a lack of solidarity from its European brethren.

“Nine member states in the EU today receive 90% of all asylum applications annually but those nine states are starting to, well, become fed up,” Tobias Billström, Sweden’s immigration minister, said in an interview. He’s asking the European Commission to punish countries for failing to pull their weight in receiving asylum seekers in accordance with the bloc’s laws.

Mr. Billström’s comments came on the eve of a meeting with his EU counterparts in Brussels Tuesday to discuss border management and burden-sharing across the union. European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström is currently investigating migration-related violations in 12 EU member states, up from just one in 2010, and is threatening to take the offenders to court “if we do not see any improvements.”

While Italy and Greece are the main gateways to the EU for migrants, people fleeing oppression seldom seek asylum there, using them as transit areas on their way to richer and friendlier northern destinations.

Since Sweden’s announcement, immigration has spiked and is now at its highest levels since the wars in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. This year, the country’s migration experts expect 59,000 people to seek asylum there, with 23,000 of them seen coming from Syria…

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