STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Sweden has reversed its “open-door” asylum policy, citing the need for “respite” from the tens of thousands of migrants seeking refuge in the Scandinavian country.
Sweden will only permit the European Union’s minimum required level of refugees, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven announced Tuesday. Identity checks will be imposed on all modes of transport and the permission to bring families to Sweden will be restricted severely.
“We are adapting Swedish legislation temporarily so that more people choose to seek asylum in other countries,” Löfven said at a press conference. “We need respite.”
Sweden estimates nearly 200,000 people may reach the country by the end of the year. Löfven also criticized the EU for failing to agree on a plan to spread refugees more evenly throughout the bloc.
“It pains me that Sweden is no longer capable of receiving asylum seekers at the high level we do today,” Löfven added. “We simply cannot do any more.”
Sweden introduced temporary border controls earlier this month to cope with an increase in the flow of migrants.
About 52 percent of the estimated more than 750,000 migrants that have entered EU member states are Syrians, followed by migrants from Afghanistan (19 percent), Iraq (6 percent) and Eritrea (5 percent). About 65 percent of migrants are men, 20 percent are children and 14 percent are women.
The Green party’s Deputy Prime Minister Åsa Romson cried shortly as she joined Löfven in announcing the new measures. New asylum seekers will only be given temporary residence permits and the ages of all unaccompanied children will be verified medically.
Romson said the measures are a “terrible decision,” adding the proposals would make life more difficult for asylum-seekers.