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Government "could have tightened borders sooner"

Published tisdag 7 juni 2016 kl 09.33
Home Affairs Minister: We needed to act
(2:38 min)
At a press conference in Stockholm on Tuesday, Anders Ygeman, Home Affairs Minister talks about how the refugee situation was handled. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT
At a press conference in Stockholm on Tuesday, Anders Ygeman, Home Affairs Minister talks about how the refugee situation was handled. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The Parliament's Committee on the Constitution has found no major cause to criticize either the current government, nor the previous one, for the handling of the refugee crisis, Swedish Radio News reports. But the border controls could have been introduced sooner, according to the committee.

This spring, the committee has reviewed more than 40 complaints that the opposition submitted, some of which concern the way the "refugee crisis" has been handled. And this afternoon, the committee will present its conclusions, but Swedish Radio News reports that the complaints having to do with the refugee crisis will not lead to criticism from the committee.

However, on one point, the committee questioned whether the government could have introduced the temporary border controls sooner, as it had all the information it needed a week prior to making the decision.

Apart from that, the committee deemed that the government had a good organisation and that the contact with the authorities worked well, as an unprecedented number of refugees entered the country this past fall. It does however add that there is insufficient information to determine whether the decisions were actually correct and if they were made in time. Part of the problem was that much of the contact between the government and the Swedish Migration Agency during the "crisis weeks" was not documented, writes the committee in its report.

On the whole, the committee, consisting of representatives from all political parties, is not criticizing the former Alliance government or the current Prime Minister Stefan Löfven in the handling of the refugee question. The only party against this conclusion was the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats party.

The Swedish National Audit Office is reviewing the same question now, and Tuesday morning, Anders Ygeman, the Social Democrat Home Affairs Minister announced an independent review into its performance during the crisis. That investigation will be led Gudrun Antemar, who works as a chief judge in an administrative court.

According to Ygeman, the government did the best it could this fall, and if it had not acted, the Swedish asylum system would have been strained even more.

He maintained that the government did exactly what was needed by instituting checks at the internal borders.

"We had 10,000 asylum seekers in the course of the week. If we hadn't done anything, then we could have had tens of thousands of people living on Malmö's streets during Christmas," said Ygeman.

Seeing that this afternoon, the Constitutional Committee will present its review of how the government and individual ministers handled their tasks, and the government's press conference and investigation may be a way to forestall possible criticism, reports news agency TT.

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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