Category Archives: Sweden

Annual number of asylum applications in select countries, 2004-2009

From Migration Policy Institute’s MPI Data Hub: annual number of asylum applications in select countries.  I copied the data for years 2004-2009 below.  Click here for the data for the years 1980-2009, footnotes, and source information.

Countries of destination 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Australia 3,201 3,204 3,515 3,980 4,771 6,170
Austria 24,634 22,461 13,349 11,921 12,841 15,830
Belgium 15,357 15,957 11,587 11,114 12,252 17,190
Canada 25,750 20,786 22,868 27,865 34,800 33,250
Denmark 3,235 2,260 1,918 1,852 2,360 3,750
Finland 3,861 3,574 2,324 1,505 4,016 5,910
France 58,545 49,733 30,748 29,387 35,404 41,980
Germany 35,613 28,914 21,029 19,164 22,085 27,650
Greece 4,469 9,050 12,267 25,113 19,884 15,930
Ireland 4,765 4,325 4,315 3,985 3,866 2,690
Italy 9,722 9,548 10,348 14,057 30,324 17,600
Netherlands 9,782 12,347 14,465 7,102 13,399 14,910
Norway 7,945 5,402 5,320 6,528 14,431 17,230
Spain 5,535 5,254 5,297 7,662 4,517 3,000
Sweden 23,161 17,530 24,322 36,373 24,353 24,190
United Kingdom 40,620 30,815 28,335 27,880 31,315 29,840
United States 44,972 39,240 41,101 40,449 39,362 38,968

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Filed under Australia, Belgium, Data / Stats, Denmark, European Union, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, UK, United States

Most EU States View Italy’s Concerns Over Refugee Threat As Grossly Exaggerated

The JHA Council yesterday rejected Italy’s call for a stronger EU response to what it describes as an impending migrant flow from North Africa consisting of hundreds of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers.  Several EU governments described the Italian request as one that was based on exaggerated fears.  Hungary’s interior minister, Sandor Pinter, told reporters that “we shouldn’t paint the devil on the wall until he appears.”  German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said “we shouldn’t be painting horror figures and encouraging refugees to come to Europe.”  Another accused Italy of “crying wolf.”

IOM spokeswoman Jemini Pandya said that while Italy should not shoulder a refugee burden on its own, no Libyans have arrived in Italy to date and she rejected the Italian estimates:  “I don’t think in any shape or form you are going to see one-and-a-half million migrants suddenly flood into Europe.  That is really not going to happen at all.  That would really be fear mongering to the extreme.”

Italy has done itself and neighbouring countries a disservice by repeatedly speaking of an “exodus of biblical proportions” and by suggesting that many hundreds of thousands of migrants are poised to take to the sea to try to reach Italy and Malta from Libya.  These estimates are in all likelihood grossly exaggerated.

But even if you agree that Italy’s feared numbers are exaggerations, the fact that no irregular migrant or asylum seeker has apparently yet left Libya by sea is not at all surprising.  Libya is in chaos and few people are likely to try to depart the country by sea until the level of violence begins to diminish.  Libya has (or had) a functioning network of human traffickers and they will be ready to begin exploiting the chaos and to take advantage of desperate people seeking to flee at some point in the future.  If Gaddafi manages to remain in power, once he is no longer concerned with his personal survival, his thoughts will at some point turn to revenge.  Libya will presumably cease cooperating with Italy on the bi-lateral pushback practice, and Gaddafi will tolerate or encourage irregular migration towards Europe.  So Italy is correct in that there is a real threat of significant numbers of migrants and asylum seekers leaving from Libya some time in the near future.  The numbers could easily and quickly surpass the 6,000 who have left Tunisia for Lampedusa.  Could the numbers surpass 30,000?  30,000 asylum seekers entered Sweden last year (population 9 million – Italy’s population is 50+ million) and Sweden has not received any extraordinary EU assistance as a result.  Could the numbers exceed the hundreds of thousands that fled the Balkan wars in the 1990s?  Possible, but probably not very likely.

Click here, here, here, here, and here for articles.  (EN)


Filed under Cyprus, European Union, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mediterranean, News, Spain, Sweden, Tunisia

Cecilia Malmström: New EC Commissioner for Justice & Home Affairs

After an 8 month delay, the European Parliament has approved a new term for European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and his 26 commissioners.

The new Commissioner with responsibility for Justice and Home Affairs is Cecilia Malmström.

Click here for link to the Commissioner’s new web site.

Click here for article about the Commissioner’s hearing before the EP.

Click here for article about the EP vote.

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ECRE Memo to Swedish EU Presidency re Asylum Policies (Statements)

On the eve of Sweden’s assumption of the EU presidency, ECRE has sent a memorandum to the Swedish Government relating to EU asylum policies and the Stockholm Programme, scheduled to be finalized in late 2009 towards the end of the six month EU presidency.

Excerpts from the ECRE memo:

“… ECRE urges Sweden to take a rights-respecting approach during its Presidency and to seek to uphold Europe’s longstanding human rights tradition, and to play a leading role in promoting fair and humane European policies towards asylum seekers and refugees.

“In recent years the EU has increasingly focused on measures aimed at preventing and combating irregular entry. Many of these border control measures lack the necessary mechanisms to identify individuals in need of protection and allow their access to the territory and subsequently to an asylum procedure. This is leading to the violation of the principle of non-refoulement at Europe’s borders and is having a major impact in preventing refugees from seeking asylum in Europe.

“States have also developed a range of externalised migration controls beyond their borders, which allow people to be returned before they can ever reach European territory.

“ECRE stresses that Member States’ obligations under international and European refugee and human rights law do not stop at the physical boundaries of the EU. Member States cannot abdicate their principles, values and legal commitments by doing outside their borders what would not be permissible in their territories.

“The obligation of non-refoulement does not arise only when a refugee is within or at the borders of a state, but also when a refugee is under its effective or de facto control, including in international waters or those of another state. ECRE is therefore seriously concerned by the situation in the Mediterranean, especially reported pushbacks of possible refugees to third countries such as Libya.

“ECRE is also deeply worried about any proposals envisaging the setting up of external processing which would allow EU States to evade their obligations to protect refugees by shifting the responsibility to third countries with extremely dubious human rights records. While building protection capacity in third countries is a welcome objective, such cooperation must be additional to, and not a substitute for facilitating access to protection within the EU.

“EU states also need to place greater emphasis on developing protection-sensitive border controls, including through FRONTEX, the EU external border management agency. Oversight of FRONTEX activities should be strengthened through increased supervision of its activities, including consultation with and reporting back to the European Parliament concerning the agency’s work programme and activities. FRONTEX should also engage in a structured cooperation with asylum experts such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and non-governmental organizations  (NGOs) with relevant expertise, in order to facilitate operations that take account of protection issues.”

Click here for the ECRE Memorandum.

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Filed under European Union, Frontex, Statements, Sweden

Swedish PM Expresses Doubts Over “Burden Sharing” Plan (News)

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt - Photo: Pawel Flato

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt - Photo: Pawel Flato

In a press conference with the Maltese PM, Swedish PM Fredrik Reinfeldt said

‘I know that Malta is pushing for more burden sharing to solve its immigration problems and that the Commission is also pressing on this point but, as you know, there are different views among member states on this. We will do our part and push a bit more. We do recognise that burden sharing can be a way forward. However, we also need to ensure that migrants are also welcomed in Europe. So, although burden sharing is important, there are difficulties and it is easier said than done.’

Maltese PM Lawrence Gonzi said that

‘Malta wants concrete help and we recognise the suggestions put forward by the European Commission and endorsed last week by EU leaders that the new Stockholm programme in the field of justice and home affairs will also include concrete measures on burden sharing among member states.’

According to the Times of Malta, “[i]n EU circles, Sweden is considered to be among the most sceptical member states when it comes to asylum and migration policy and, lately, was among the leading group of Nordic member states trying to water down the Commission’s initiatives to help Malta and other southern EU members facing major influxes of immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa.”

Click here for Times of Malta article.

Click here for Malta Independent article.

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Swedish and Maltese PMs Meet to Discuss Stockholm Plan (News)

Maltese PM Lawrence Gonzi is meeting with Swedish PM Fredrik Reinfeldt in Sweden in advance of Sweden’s 1st July assumption of the EU presidency.  Irregular immigration and the Stockholm programme, the new 5 year plan for EC Justice and Home Affairs replacing the Hague Programme, are being discussed.

Click here for Times of Malta article.

Click here for additional information from Statewatch about the Stockholm Programme’s process and contents.

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Swedish Migration Minister in Malta for Migration Talks (News)

Blog - swedish Min for Migration and Asylum BillstromSwedish Migration Minister Tobias Billström completed a two day visit to Malta ahead of Sweden’s 1st July assumption of the EU Presidency.  The recently approved EU pilot project where refugees are to be transferred from Malta to other EU member states on a voluntary basis was reviewed.

 Click here for Times of Malta article.   Click here for article.

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Filed under European Union, Mediterranean, News, Sweden