Sweden's Minister for International Development Isabella Lövin, right. Photo: Anders Wiklund / TT and Tomas Oneborg / TT.
Sweden's Minister for International Development Isabella Lövin, right. Photo: Anders Wiklund / TT and Tomas Oneborg / TT.

Foreign aid budget shrinks to help handle immigration

Sweden's Minister for International Development Cooperation Isabella Lövin said the government will transfer funds from its foreign aid budget to help finance the asylum system.

Swedish Radio News reports that cutbacks between 10 to 15 percent will be made across the board for the 2016 budget.

Payments to the World Bank will be delayed and in some development projects where Sweden pay more than others donors the nation's payments will be lowered so that they are more in line with what other donors pay. 

Lövin went on to say that the impact on individual aid projects will be small and that if the number of refugees coming this year drops below the current forecasts there may be money left over.

In November of last year, the government decided that only 30 percent of the foreign aid budget can be put toward helping asylum seekers in Sweden.

"As the economy grows, the aid budget is also growing, so this 30 percent ceiling is not a dramatic cut but a pretty small cut, and we have tried to spread evenly across the various organizations and initiatives," Lövin told Swedish Radio News.

Lövin pointed out that Sweden is still a global leader in development aid. According to preliminary data from the OECD, Sweden provided USD 6.2 billion in aid money in 2014, which represented 1.1 percent of its gross national income.

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