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Liberal MEP Wikström: Party integration policy is "rubbish"

Published fredag 30 januari 2015 kl 19.20
Photo: Dave Russell/Radio Sweden
The Liberal Party MEP Cecilia Wikström, standing for election in May 2014. Photo: Dave Russell/Radio Sweden

Cecilia Wikström, one of the Liberal Party's key figures on immigration and asylum policy, says she was not consulted on the party's new "integration policy", which she believes is fit only for the rubbish bin.

Wikström, an MEP in Brussels, also said to SVT that the agenda for last weekend's meeting of the party executive was changed at the last moment so that the proposal would go through on the second day of the get together, when she had already gone back to Brussels.

"It was very odd that they chose to put the discussion about this when I was not there," she says to SVT.

On Wednesday this week, party leader Jan Björklund announced a series of plans tackling the issue of integration, including the old demand that anyone wanting to become a Swedish citizen should first pass a Swedish exam. Other proposals in the party's "integration package", include a demand that any immigrant that wants to bring his or her family to Sweden first has to get a job and find somewhere permanent to live, however, children under the age of 18 will always be allowed to join their parents, the party says.

Wikström says that the policy is badly thought out and contains the wrong focus. "This proposal should be relegated to where it belongs - the rubbish bin."

Björklund's proposal was also criticised internally in the party on Wednesday by another member of the party board, Frida Johansson Metso, on SVT. Also, one of the leading names in the party, Birgitta Ohlsson, told tabloid Expressen on Friday that she was not happy with several aspects of the new policy. 

Cecilia Wikström has spent the last few years working on the EU's asylum and migration policies.

"I am a really heavy hitter in this area in Parliament and so it becomes so strange if my party is going in a different direction when I lead people from all countries to form joint legislative proposals in this area," she says to SVT.

However, she still supports her party leader Jan Björklund.

"I have known him for very many years and have confidence in him but this proposal should be relegated to where it belongs - the rubbish bin."

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