Sweden Democrats excluded from refugee crisis talks

Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven has invited all parliamentary party leaders except the Sweden Democrats’ Jimmie Åkesson to talks about the refugee crisis.

The talks will be held this Wednesday and, speaking to Swedish Television News, Löfven’s press spokesperson, Anne Ekberg, confirmed that Åkesson has not been invited.

The aim of the meeting is to the discuss the current crisis, rather than to debate Sweden’s overall migration and integration policies. The party leaders will consider what the crisis means for Sweden and what initiatives the country should push for in the EU, news agency TT reports.

According to Löfven’s head of press relations, Odd Guteland, the prime minister will also brief the party leaders on the outcome of his talks with Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel and Austria’s chancellor Werner Faymann, to be held Tuesday.

Åkesson is disappointed about having been excluded from the meeting. “I presume they simply don’t want us there. That’s bad for Sweden since we are the only ones representing a different perspective,” he told newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

Åkesson is critical of the strategy that Löfven has suggested he wants to push for at the EU level. The prime minister outlined that strategy at a Monday press conference and it includes raising the number of quota refugees in the EU to 100,000 per year. Those refugees should be more evenly distributed across the EU member states, Löfven said.

The Sweden Democrats’ position, however, is that all refugee aid should be directed towards the regions affected by war and conflict. The party's policy is to help refugees in their own countries.