Sweden intends to expel up to 80,000 refugees and migrants who arrived in 2015 and whose applications for asylum have been rejected.
“We are talking about 60,000 people, but the number could climb to 80,000″, the Interior Minister Anders Ygeman declared.
Along with Germany, the Scandinavian country is a prime destination for refugees and other migrants entering the EU illegally. Sweden accepted more than 160,000 asylum seekers last year, becoming one of the European Union countries that has in the largest number of refugees in relation to its population.
“We have a big challenge ahead of us. We will need to use more resources for this and we must have better cooperation between authorities” Ygeman stated. The mass expulsion is the result of the Europe’s failure to deal with a crisis that has seen thousands of refugees flee from conflict in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and arrive in Greece, after risking their lives in wintry conditions and deadly seas.
Ygeman said the expulsions, normally carried out using commercial flights, would have to be done using specially chartered aircraft, given the large numbers, and it would take several years.
Meanwhile, in neighbouring Denmark the government this week approved legislation to seize the valuables of refugees to help pay for resettlement costs in the hope of limiting the influx of migrants.