Liberal Party:"High time to take the next step on asylum"

7:02 min

The Liberal Party MEP Cecilia Wikström says one of her top priorities if re-elected to the EU parliament, is to give asylum seekers in the huge refugee camps, a safe and legal route to the EU. 

The Liberal Party describes itself as Sweden's most "Europe-friendly party", a slogan underlined by its support to join the Euro and its federal wishes for  closer cooperation between the 28 EU member states in areas such as trade, law enforcement and migration. Indeed, two Liberal Party members have influential roles associated with the European Union. Cecilia Malmström is Sweden's sole EU commissioner, while Birgitta Ohlsson holds the post of EU minister in Sweden's four party centre-right coalition government.

The Liberal Party list of candidates for the European Parliament elections in May is headed by Brussels veteran Marit Paulsen, followed by Cecilia Wikström and Jasenko Selimovic. Cecilia Wikström is seeking re-election to the European Parliament. She tells Radio Sweden that her top priority, should she get re-elected, is to continue the reform of the EU's policy on asylum, making it easier for asylum-seekers to come to Europe by legal, safe means.

"I think it is high time that we take the next move when it comes to the Asylum package. I was the key negotiator in parliament when we finally managed in 2013 to put together the Common European Asylum System, but it is still built on the premise that the person entitled to international protection has to apply for asylum on European soil before they can even file an asylum claim, in other words they risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean."

"So, what we need to do is take the next step and provide for people to apply for asylum in their refugee camps and also at European embassies all over the world to give them a safe and legal route to the EU."

Opposed to the EU sceptics, the Liberal Party and Cecilia Wikström wants to move closer to a federal Europe. She tells Radio Sweden."I dare to say the F word and it is not the four letter F word but it is the federalist word. I do believe what we have done during this mandate is that we have moved towards federalism in many ways. Federalism is not to push the decision making upwards to a higher level but to take the right decisions at the right political level. I do believe that cooperation between EU countries and its institiutions needs to be further strengthened."

Cecilia Wikström believes the biggest challenge for Europe over the next five years is to stay competitive in a globalised world."We can never compete with low salaries or low production costs but we can still be competive by prioritising the right areas such as research and innovation because we have the knowledge."