Sweden welcomes EU asylum support

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has welcomed European Union support for its intake of Iraqi refugees.

Sweden received just under 9,000 asylum applications from Iraqis in 2006, and dealt with over 9,000 more in the first six months of this year, more than all other 26 EU member states combined.

The European Commission has announced plans to release some 10 million US dollars to countries facing rapid increases in asylum applications.

Sweden is to receive half the funding, with the remainder being split between EU countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea to bolster programmes dealing with asylum seekers from Africa.

Bildt welcomed the support but added there remained ”some way to go” before responsibility for asylum seekers was equally shared among EU members.