Sweden Launches International Campaign to Stifle Migrant Flow

The Swedish government has launched an international information campaign to spread the message about a “paradigm shift” in its immigration policy.

The aim is to discourage more immigrants from coming to the Nordic country.

"It's about giving an exact account of what Sweden’s migration policy looks like and will look like," Immigration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard of the Moderate Party said at a press conference. According to her, this will reduce the number of asylum applications in Sweden.

Among others, the campaign features information packages for foreign authorities and the provision of targeted communication to foreign media, news agencies and embassies.

The immigration minister emphasised that currently two-thirds of the asylum seekers who come to Europe lack reasons for protection. According to her, informing these people of the regulations that apply in advance will reduce their suffering, if they are ultimately forced to return.

Sweden Democrats parliamentary group leader Henrik Vinge stressed that it was important to inform that Sweden’s once extremely generous asylum policy is no longer quite as generous.

The government also emphasized that during its first 100 days in office, it has implemented a series of measures to deal with migration issues. Among other things, internal controls of foreigners have been expanded and the fight against illegal immigration has been bolstered. The government also emphasized its lasting emphasis on "voluntary repatriation."

This is a marked shift from the Moderates’ much more lavish immigration policy, pursued during their previous stint in power under then-Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, who aspired to turn Sweden into a "humanitarian superpower" and even called on his compatriots to "open their hearts" and embrace mass immigration.

This is often attributed to the influence of the national-conservative Sweden Democrats, which loom large over the government's action plan despite having no minister posts. Previously ostracized by Sweden’s entire political establishment, the Sweden Democrats have long been the sole party pushing for a limited immigration, earning epithets from "racist" to "bigoted" from the country's left-leaning press. However, in 2022, they had their best showing ever, becoming the country's second-largest party and becoming a key ally to the otherwise frail minority government led by the Moderates.

An important milestone in Sweden's approach to immigration was reached several years ago, when former Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, after years of arduous denial, finally admitted the role of poor integration of newcomers in the soaring crime and heavy violence that swept the once-peaceful nation. As gang shootings started to dominate the news cycle, even the left-wing and pro-immigration Social Democrats shifted their rhetoric.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, immigration-related crime became the focal point of the 2022 election, with once-shunned concepts like "parallel societies" and "no-go zones" becoming openly discussed. Kristersson himself ran on the platform of "straightening out Sweden," pledging to bear down on immigrant-related crime and violence.

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