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UNHCR chief urges EU to do more for refugees

Published tisdag 3 februari 2015 kl 14.26
"Different European countries do not apply the same criteria"
(3:40 min)
Sweden's foreign minister at an earlier press conference. Photo: Brett Ascarelli / Radio Sweden
Sweden's foreign minister at an earlier press conference. Photo: Brett Ascarelli / Radio Sweden

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said that Sweden is doing the right thing by taking in so many refugees, and blasted other European Union countries for failing to take responsibility and pull their weight.

Harmonization of standards, he said, was key.

"Different European countries do not apply the same criteria. The same standards do not follow," he said.

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom agreed that other EU countries must accept more asylum seekers. She also said that deteriorating security around the world only makes the need even more urgent.

"The deteriorating situation will only enforce our arguments," she said. Other EU counties, she insisted, must do more. 

Last year just over 81,000 asylum seekers arrived in Sweden, according to the Migration Board. In 2014, Sweden received the largest number of asylum seekers since the 1992 Balkan war.

Nearly half of those seeking refuge here last year were from Syria. Many also came from Eritrea and Somalia. Virtually all of those from Syria or Eritrea were given permission to stay, while people from the Balkans had very little chance of getting asylum in 2014.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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