Sweden ready to compromise on EU asylum sharing
The Swedish government has indicated willingness to compromise on asylum policy, in a move that could speed an EU agreement before the summer, Swedish Radio News reports.
"If we're to get all EU states behind a compromise, we must be ready to give and take," migration minister Morgan Johansson said.
As previously reported by Swedish Radio News, an informal proposal has been discussed under which EU member states that refused to accept asylum seekers would pay a levy of some SEK 600,000 kronor per asylum seeker.
Each state of the 28-member bloc would be allotted a quota of asylum seekers, and would be obligated to take at least half that number before denying entry to asylum seekers and paying the levy instead.
Johansson indicated that this arrangement would be acceptable to Sweden.
"It's important that there's a principle in place whereby no country can simply refuse to take refugees in a crisis," he said.
Under the proposals, the EU would also limit the number of asylum seekers who would be subject to the quota mechanism to a reported 200,000. Once this level is reached, a new emergency mechanism would take effect.
The EU hopes to secure agreement with so-called "safe third countries", for example in North Africa, to return asylum seekers, similar to the deal between the EU and Turkey. However, this would require redefining what is considered to be a safe country.
"For us it's important that you have good relationships with countries you reach agreements with, so we're sceptical about lowering requirements in the way that has been discussed," says Johansson.
The issue is being discussed today by the Swedish parliament's EU committee, ahead of next week's EU migration ministers' meeting in Brussels.