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Cooperation on reception of refugees theme for meeting of foreign ambassadors in Stockholm

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The EU needs a new system for the reception of refugees. This was the message from Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, as he, Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström and Minister for Finance Magdalena Andersson met the foreign ambassadors in Stockholm on 26 November. He also spoke about the importance of climate change and cited increasing employment as the Government’s top priority.

Photo of Stefan Löfven, Margot Wallström, Magdalena Andersson and Annika Söder.
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström, Minister for Finance Magdalena Andersson and State Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Annika Söder met the foreign ambassadors in Stockholm on 26 November. Photo: Martina Huber/The Government Offices

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven began by expressing the Swedish Government’s sympathy and solidarity with those affected by terrorist attacks. Mr Löfven stated that the refugee crisis could be handled better by the EU. Sweden, which has taken in 80 000 refugees in the last two months alone, has reached a point where it is necessary for refugees to seek asylum in other European countries. “We should start to discuss a new, sustainable system for refugee reception in the EU, based on a permanent distribution system,” he said.

One of the world’s first fossil-free welfare countries

There is also a great deal that is positive happening in the world, Mr Löfven pointed out. Extreme poverty has been more than halved worldwide, for example.

“In just four days we will meet in Paris to discuss climate change. Sweden’s aim is a global, fair and legally binding agreement that keeps global warming below two degrees. He stressed that this is a job that begins at home.

“Sweden will be one of the world’s first fossil-free welfare nations. This is morally right, but also economically smart. Countries at the forefront will be the winners – not those who wait until the last moment.” Mr Löfven emphasised Sweden’s continued strong commitment to international cooperation, and the fact that Sweden will continue to be a strong voice for democracy, equality and solidarity.

Increased employment priority goal

The Prime Minister concluded his speech with a few words about the Government’s first year in power.

“We have put more and new jobs at the top of our agenda. The key components are investments in housing and infrastructure, increased cooperation for more and growing companies, and improved job matching and skills. The objective of increased employment becomes even more important in light of the ongoing refugee crisis, Mr Löfven said.

“Everyone who can work should work. Together, we will work Sweden out of the crisis and into the future.” Looking back at the Government’s first year, the Prime Minister also said that he sees greater willingness to cooperate across party lines.

“The Government has been clear from the start in our desire to gather cross-party majorities. I welcome a new era in Swedish politics – guided by responsibility and determination,” he said.

Sweden will continue to take responsibility, but cannot stand alone

Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström took the floor after the Prime Minister. She began by quoting writer Stig Dagerman.

“He wrote: ‘In times of no hope there is no worse prison than the future’. We must therefore not lose hope.” She noted that the world is facing a range of challenges and that, as the world’s sixth largest aid donor in absolute terms and the largest per capita recipient of refugees, Sweden is continuing to take great responsibility for global development.

“Our objective of giving one per cent of our GNI in aid remains in place.” Regarding the reception of refugees, she echoed Mr Löfven’s view that Sweden cannot stand alone.  She also emphasised that Sweden’s reception of refugees must enable children seeking asylum to have the same opportunities as Swedish children.

“The Government has now agreed that no more than thirty per cent of the aid budget will go to migration costs. “Sweden will continue to be an active and generous member of the international community,” she said.

Minister for Finance Magdalena Andersson also attended the meeting.