Solidarity-based refugee and migration policy and a secure world

Progress has been made to deal with the migration situation, particularly in terms of cooperation to combat human smuggling and the root causes of people fleeing. What remains is to put in place a new, functioning and efficient asylum system, in which all EU countries take responsibility for receiving refugees and which should be efficient, legally certain, sustainable in the long term and humane, and enable high-quality decisions that protect the right of asylum.

Photo: Ninni Andersson/Government Offices

Several important decisions were taken in 2015–2016 to manage the emergency refugee situation and strengthen existing asylum systems. This applies above all to strengthened border controls and coastguard activities and increased cooperation with countries outside the EU on returns. Important steps were also taken in cooperation with these countries to combat the root causes of people having to flee. However, it is not acceptable for certain Member States to refuse to implement the decisions taken.

Although the refugee flows have declined, over the past year many people risked their lives to come to Europe. The EU must therefore continue to work for a functioning and sustainable common migration policy.

Sweden is one of the Member States that has contributed most in the area of migration, both through the generous reception of people in need of protection and through operational support to other Member States in serious need of help, such as Greece. What is more, Sweden is one of the largest donors of humanitarian support to countries near the centres of conflict, where most refugees are located. It is not tenable for just a few countries to shoulder such a major responsibility. More Member States must take greater responsibility than they have done so far.

An effective common asylum system

There is still a great deal of disagreement among the Member States over the design of a new asylum system. But the common asylum and migration policy must work and the Government therefore welcomes the European Council's ambition to swiftly reach an agreement.

The Government will work to ensure that:

  • a new common asylum system is introduced in the EU that is more uniform and distributes people seeking protection in the EU more evenly; this system needs to include proposals for how to achieve more legal routes to the EU for protection; all Member States must take responsibility;
  • people who do not have the right to stay are returned efficiently and with legal certainty; each asylum application must be examined individually; and
  • control of the external borders is strengthened; this is a prerequisite if freedom of movement within the Schengen area is to work.

Migration cooperation with countries outside the EU

One priority for Sweden is to broaden the global division of responsibility for people in need of protection. This is a prerequisite if the large migration and refugee flows are to be handled better.

The Government will work to ensure that:

  • cooperation continues with priority countries outside the EU to combat the root causes of people fleeing;
  • the EU increases support to the countries in the immediate region that are taking a large responsibility for the refugee situation; the Government would like to highlight in particular cooperation with Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and the Western Balkans; and
  • policy develops the partnerships with countries outside the EU concerning returns, and combats the root causes of involuntary migration.

A secure world

EU cooperation plays an important role in protecting our common security. A neighbourhood characterised by democracy, stability and economic development is important for the EU's long-term development and security. The EU will preserve and protect the European security order, which is still challenged by Russia's aggression against Ukraine. The EU should continue to develop the Eastern Partnership.

A common security and defence policy that includes effective crisis management capacity and is able to deal with both external and internal security is crucial for maintaining the security order in Europe. Several terrorist attacks over the past year show the need for more resolute and cohesive EU action. Close cooperation between the EU and the United States is necessary to tackle the regional and global challenges of our time.

The EU needs to take concerted action for the implementation of the Global Goals for sustainable development, the 2030 Agenda. Gender equality and everyone's right to enjoy their human rights must be an integral part of the EU's external action.

The Government will work to ensure that:

  • the EU's dialogue with Russia is clear and principled, and that support to Ukraine is strong; the EU's sanctions against Russia must be upheld for as long as the reasons for their introduction remain;
  • the EU maintains the process of creating closer ties with the Western Balkans and Turkey;
  • the EU develops conflict prevention and crisis management in the Middle East and Africa, in cooperation with the UN and regional actors; and
  • the implementation of the EU's global strategy leads to a more proactive EU that develops civilian and military crisis management capacity and takes greater global responsibility.