Current debate

Week 23: Increased nationalism, EU migration policy and criticism of arms exports to Yemen

This week, migration policy in Sweden and at EU level has been debated. Nationalism and closed borders have increased within the EU and in Sweden there is a proposal for a new Aliens Act which, according to a large number of researchers, goes completely against the knowledge about migration and integration. Swedish arms exports have also been discussed and criticized with reference to the war in Yemen.

During the past week, Sweden's and the EU's migration policy has been discussed in several media. In a debate article in ETC The Green Party's youth union Green Youth points out that migration policy is an area that the EU has succeeded less well in, as it is characterized by nationalism, closed borders and Member States competing for who can receive the least refugees. EU Commissioner Ylva Johansson (S) with responsibility for migration issues has not tried to promote solidarity as she, among other things, proposes a migration goal for return instead of ensuring a humane and legally secure asylum process, Green Youth believes.

Ylva Johansson presented her proposal for a new asylum and migration pact last autumn, but due to the pandemic, the EU countries' migration ministers have only been able to meet this week to take a first step in the new start of migration policy.

- Not enough has happened. Our hope now is that there will be a new momentum, that you have to address these big and important issues, that you get a more distributed responsibility when it comes to asylum reception in Europe, states Minister of the Interior Mikael Damberg (S) in Swedish daily newspaper and states that Sweden is up for a discussion on a mandatory redistribution.

Denmark has made headlines with its plans to place asylum management abroad and not admit any asylum seekers into the country. According to Mikael Damberg, that solution is not relevant, as it is not even legal in European cooperation. Alice Bah Kuhnke (MP) also criticized Denmark's proposal in a debate article in Expressen and called on the international community to continue to oppose the Danish government's migration policy.

Proposal for a new Aliens Act in Sweden

Also in Sweden, a proposal for a new Aliens Act has been presented to the Riksdag, whose goal is said to be a long-term migration policy with similar rules as the rest of the EU. In a debate article published by The Gothenburg Post, signed by 102 researchers in areas such as migration and integration, criticizes the proposal as it does not take into account research in the field.

- The bill will lead to a marginally reduced immigration at the cost of sharply deteriorating integration and widening gaps in society. The members of parliament who vote for the law, and thus choose to ignore the research and knowledge that exists, therefore bear a great responsibility for the future, the researchers say.

Sweden should stop arms exports to the warring parties in Yemen

The Yemeni civil war has claimed more than 230 lives. On Wednesday, Swedish arms exports were debated in the Riksdag and, among other things, there were motions to stop arms exports to warring parties in the war. That this has not already happened can only be described as a fatal failure, seven peace organizations write in Aftonbladet and recalls that the Riksdag in 2011 decided on stricter rules for Swedish arms exports to dictatorships. Despite this, 35 percent of the total value of Sweden's arms exports last year went to non-democracies. The largest recipient was the United Arab Emirates, one of the warring parties in the Yemeni war.

- An obvious first step is to immediately stop all arms exports, including follow-up deliveries, to the warring parties in Yemen. Everything else is a political failure and a betrayal of Sweden's promise to stand on the side of the people and not the authoritarian leaders, the article authors write.

The Christian Democrats want the export of munitions to countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to be stopped as long as the war in Yemen continues, writes the party's foreign policy spokesman Lars Adaktusson in About the World. Sweden has an important role as a peace broker in Yemen when it hosted the warring parties' negotiations in 2018. Nevertheless, Swedish arms exports to the United Arab Emirates increased from SEK 1,3 billion to SEK 3,2 billion between 2019 and 2020.

- It is serious that the government sees between the fingers that Swedish companies export weapons to warring parties in the civil war in Yemen. It risks eroding our credibility as a voice for democracy, human rights and peace in the world, says Lars Adaktusson.


A selection of the last week's editorial and debate articles on global development and Sweden's role in the world: 

EU migration policy

The EU knows better than closed borders and nationalism
Aida Badeli, David Ling, Nick Doggen. Green youth. ETC.

Migration work stalled in the EU
Victor Nummelin / TT. Swedish daily newspaper.

Danish migration policy is a disgrace to the entire EU
Alice Bah Kuhnke (MP). The Express.

Swedish migration policy

102 researchers: "Stop the new Aliens Act"
Henry Ascher, Sahlgrenska Academy, et al. Göteborgsposten.

Swedish arms export

Stop arms exports to the fighters in Yemen
Agnes Hellström, Swedish Peace and Arbitration Association, and others. Aftonbladet.

"Government must export arms to war-torn Yemen"
Lars Adaktusson (KD). About the World.


The Riksdag must condemn violence against Colombia's young social leaders
Peter Brune, War Child, et al. About the World.

"Sweden's strategies for Latin America lack coordination with the EU"
Erik Jennische, Civil Rights Defenders. About the World.

More and more children in the world are working
Erik Halkjaer. About the World.

Growing child labor requires action
Helena Thybell, Save the Children, Hewan Temesghen, Fairtrade Sweden. Göteborgsposten.

Say their names
Jakob Dalunde (MP), Camilla Hansén (MP). ETC.

We can not dump Swedish IS women on the knees of the Kurds
Susanne Nyström. Today's news.

Sweden must take responsibility for the IS children
Principal. Sydsvenskan.

Now the IS women are returning to the sanctuary Sweden
The editorial staff. Expressen.


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