Minister of the Interior Anders Ygeman. Photo: Christine Olsson / TT.
Minister of the Interior Anders Ygeman. Photo: Christine Olsson / TT.

Minister U-turns on EU border powers

"... to intervene against a member state's will"
1:23 min

After the government previously rejected the idea of an EU-wide border-control system, Minister for Home Affairs Anders Ygeman told Swedish Radio Tuesday that he would be open to one.

According to an EU proposal, the current border co-operation agency Frontex should be granted the authority to operate within a member-state's territory without prior approval from the country. Such a move is considered a politically sensitive issue in Sweden.

"I am prepared to say that I could allow for Frontex, or a future Frontex, to intervene against a member state's will," said Ygeman to Swedish Radio's EU correspondent in Amsterdam. He told the reporter he would accept such a scenario even if the country in question was Sweden.

"That would be the natural conclusion, even if Sweden is probably the country that best follows the Schengen rules, maybe," said Ygeman.

Ygeman said he understood it was a politically sensitive position.

"Yes. This is the consequence of wanting a redistribution of refugees to other countries in the EU and to put a stop to the shortcomings that there are at the EU's external borders," said Ygeman.

Last fall Prime Minister Stephen Löfven did not support the proposal when it was put forward by the European Commission. But since then a steady flow of migrants has entered the EU, especially through Greece where border controls are lax.

Sweden has been criticized by other EU countries for rejecting such a proposal, but until now the Swedish Parliament's EU committee has still voted no to such an authority.

"We'll have that discussion with the committee when there is a concrete proposal on the table," said Ygeman.

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