EU support for Swedish asylum distribution
After the first of two days of talks at an end-of year summit in Brussels, Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven was cautiously optimistic that Sweden will receive help from other EU member states to cope with taking on a large share of responsibility in the refugee crisis.
Speaking of Sweden' desire for other member states to take some of the asylum seekers who have come to the country in record numbers, Stefan Löfven said that he was hopeful but did not want to speak too soon.
"The meeting has concluded that member states which are under severe pressure and who have requested it, are to be eligible for redistribution. I do not want to cry hello before we are over the hill. We have not seen any concrete proposals yet from the European Commisison, and we do not known when such a proposal will come," the premier told reporters in Brussels.
EU leaders did not openly oppose Sweden's cry for help that other EU member states should receive asylum seekers from Sweden.
Which countries are what have expressed the willingness to accept refugees from Sweden?
"Estonia has said that they want to help Sweden and there are other countries who say the same," Stefan Löfven told Swedish Radio News.
It is unclear how many people can be redirected, and when.
To date, 150,000 refugees have sought asylum in Sweden this year. An estimate of how many of these that may be sent to other EU countries is between 20,000 and 30,000 refugees, according to Swedish Radio News.
EU asylum and immigration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos has vowed that Sweden will become a part of the EU redistribution system for asylum seekers. TT speculates that the European Commission is prepared to redeploy 23,000 asylum seekers from Sweden, but a formal decision has been delayed.
European leaders also discussed plans to set up a new border guard agency that could deploy to member states unable or unwilling to manage their borders as thousands of migrants continued to arrive in Europe daily.
The plan has received fierce opposition from southern European nations hardest hit by the arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants to Europe this year, including Greece and Italy. It was agreed on Thursday that the plan will be revisited in February 2016.
The talks also included Britain's demands for reforms to the EU, which include controversial plans to curb access to benefits for migrants.
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said that he believes it is important for Sweden that the UK remains in the EU because Sweden and the UK are allies on many issues, for example in terms of competitiveness and the EU's internal market.
Leaders returned to the summit on Friday to discuss Euro zone integration.