Sweden Rejects Large Numbers of Refugees as Financial Strain Grows

February 3, 2016Swedenby EW News Desk Team

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The Swedish government will decline thousands of refugee applications and deport up to 80,000 people—of the 160,000 refugees the country originally accepted—that sought asylum in 2015. Sweden is more welcoming to migrants than any other nation in Europe and provides new arrivals with social services that include language courses.

Like Germany, Sweden is realizing that the rising numbers of migrants seeking asylum is not sustainable in the long term. The International Monetary Fund argues that additional refugee/migrant spending will boost GDP and domestic demand, but at a time when so many Europeans are suffering from the world economic downturn, excessive migrant spending is a luxury only well off countries can afford. Germans, Austrians and Swedes are known for their open-door policies, but other nations have been less welcoming, such as Denmark, Hungary, Spain and Italy.

In Denmark's case, the government even went so far as to confiscate any property from refugees as a deterrent against traversing Danish borders to reach Sweden. Many migrants must make comprises as refugees fleeing from war-torn regions in the Middle East and Africa, including migrants searching for better job opportunities. Sweden has been an ideal haven for new migrants because of its tolerant atmosphere, strong economy, and high standard of living. With that, Sweden is reaching its capacity limit, which is beginning to have a drastic effect on the economy.

Dashed Hopes

Prime Minister Stefan Loefven will have to abandon his goal of holding the lowest unemployment rate in the European Union by 2020 due to the increased migration flow. A slight dip in unemployment will occur by 2017, but joblessness will rise by 2020 because of immigration policy, and higher joblessness is expected to last beyond 2020 because many non-Swedes face a tougher time finding work, notes Bloomberg. The process of integrating a mass influx of people will be a tumultuous task that could take decades, while simultaneously placing greater strain on national budgets.

Political Blowback

Although accepting so many of the world's downtrodden is a noble quest, the process shifts a heavy burden to taxpayers while giving rise to far-right nationalist parties across Europe. Moreover, high-profile reports of crimes allegedly committed by refugees throughout the EU have tarnished the image of refugees in the minds of many Europeans, and many law-abiding arrivals are being unfairly targeted and scrutinized.

The alleged attacks in Cologne, Germany remain fresh on the minds of many, and the Swedish government has called for greater security measures after the murder of a Lebanese volunteer at a refugee center at the hands of youths residing at the facility. While animosity and ethnic tensions boil over across Europe, the larger issue that governments face is mass integration while staying financially solvent in the process.

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