epa10242786 Leader of the Sweden Democrats Party Jimmie Akesson addresses a joint press conference with other parties' leaders at the Parliament press office regarding the formation of the government in Stockholm, Sweden, 14 October 2022. EPA-EFE/JONAS EKSTROEMER SWEDEN OUT


European migration deal threatens to topple Swedish Government


The Sweden Democrats are up in arms about the EU’s draft ‘migrant pact’. The right-wing party has declared it could withdraw its support for the ruling coalition in Sweden over the issue, which would trigger a major political crisis in the country.

The contested deal would lay down a distribution scheme for migrants among EU Member States. The chief negotiator in the European Parliament is Tomas Tobé, a Swedish parliamentarian from the centre-right Moderate Party, which is part of the minority government held up by the Sweden Democrats.

The Sweden Democrats think this proposed pact could lead to more asylum-seekers coming to Sweden, something they say goes against the Swedish coalition agreement.

Mattias Karlsson, a major figure with the Sweden Democrats, said on Twitter: “The government must stop the EU Parliament’s version of the ‘Migrant Pact’, designed by the Swedish Moderate Tomas Tobé. If not, I find it difficult to see how the basis for our cooperation can be maintained.”

Not much later, party leader Jimmie Åkesson reacted similarly: “It can hardly come as a shock to anyone that the Sweden Democrats advocate an independent and very strict Swedish migration policy. In practice, the EU’s ‘migrant pact’ means the opposite. We will not accept Swedish voters’ power over migration policy being given away to politicians and bureaucrats from other countries in Brussels. Full stop.”

The Sweden Democrats are against more migration to Sweden, which has taken in record numbers of migrants and was one of the reasons for their strong showing in the last elections. The party provides key backing to the minority centre-right government, which currently holds the presidency of the European Union, giving symbolic value to this disagreement.

The next step in the migrant pact is for EU governments to agree on their position in the Council of Ministers. Negotiations will then begin between the Parliament, the Council and the Commission to reach a compromise.  The aim is for the entire asylum and migrant pact to be finalised by the Council and Parliament in early 2024.

The EU has been trying to unite in reforming the common asylum and migration policy for years. The issue has been particularly difficult since the migration crisis of 2016. A handful of countries have been forced to shelter a large influx of migrants at the southern border, but the same migrants then seek asylum in other countries, like Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden.