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Photo: AP
A border guard from Frontex at the Greek-Turkish border. Photo: AP Credit: TT

Proposed EU border force meets resistance

"Restrictive of national sovereignty"
1:35 min

Several  parties said "no" Friday to a proposal supported by the government to expand the powers of an EU border-control agency so that it could potentially enter Sweden without permission.

The government had previously rejected the idea of an EU border-control system, but Minister for Home Affairs Anders Ygeman announced in January that he would now support one. Friday Ygeman told Swedish Radio news that he was surprised that the proposal had met such strong resistance.

"Eight days ago, the Moderates supported the government's position. Today they leave a dissenting opinion," said Ygeman. "I still have the support of Parliament. And I hope in the end that the Moderates support measures to secure the EU's external borders."

Friday the Moderates, the Centre Party, the Sweden Democrats, and the Left Party gave notice of a so-called "dissenting opinion" in the Riksdag's dedicated EU committee. Moderate MP Krister Hammarberg told Swedish Radio that the government had not heeded his party's criticism of the proposal. And Centre Party MP Eskil Erlandsson said the proposal is "restrictive of national sovereignty" and was unclear in its present form about how supranational powers could be exercised.

"We think there is too much ambiguity on that point and in the current proposal. We have to ensure it complies with the Swedish laws we have today, so that an authority would not be exercised by someone who didn't have Swedish citizenship, for example," said Erlandsson.

The proposal being negotiated in the EU would expand the powers of the existing Frontex agency by creating a rapid response team of 1,500 people, which could be deployed on short notice to protect the EU's external borders. As a last resort that force could also enter a country against that country's will, a provision that is politically controversial in Sweden.

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