Are the problems of Swedish immigration still solvable?

Refugee crisis in SwedenThe welcome mood can change at any time

The Swedish island of Gotland is a popular summer destination for German tourists. Fans of the Middle Ages get their money's worth in the capital Visby, sun-seekers bask on the long sandy beaches or climb the bizarre rock formations left by the last ice age. For a few years now, beggars from Romania and Bulgaria have also shaped the streets of Gotland.

Anna-Maria Bauer, who works for the Red Cross, takes care of her. Because of the refugee crisis, beggars have been making less money for a few months now than they used to, says the blonde Swede. Nevertheless, people from Bulgaria and Romania do not see the many asylum seekers as competitors. On the contrary:

"I explained to them that the Swedes are now throwing less money into their paper cups because they are currently very involved in helping refugees. They should know that the Swedes have nothing against them personally. These people have no Romanian newspapers or access to TV programs in their language. When I explained to them why so many are on the run and what is going on in Syria, they were totally shocked and asked directly whether they could help the refugees too. "

Beggars collect donations for refugees

On the spur of the moment, Anna-Maria Bauer equipped a handful of her protégés with Red Cross vests and collection cans. A few of them even traveled to Stockholm to take care of incoming refugees there. The fundraising campaign was a great success: They collected over 4,000 kroner, i.e. a good 400 euros, in two hours, reports this woman from Romania:

"We're collecting money for the refugees so that they can eat and buy something to wear. That's good!"

Some even donated a small amount of the money they had begged, reports Anna-Maria Bauer:

"I thought it was a tremendously big gesture from them. Mainly because it is very difficult for them themselves. That was a very positive surprise for me."

The mood could change at any time

But not all people in Sweden are ready to welcome refugees with open arms and share their wealth with them. This is evidenced by opinion polls that the right-wing populist party "Sverigedemokraterna" saw at the end of July with more than 23 percent of the vote. Most Swedes are still very helpful, says Madelaine Seidlitz, who is responsible for refugee issues at Amnesty International Sweden. But the mood could change at any time:

"The mood is mixed, I would say. Most people in Sweden understand why so many people are on the run and had to leave their country. We also see a great deal of willingness to help. But there have also been cases of planned refugee accommodation that were set on fire We also observe that, in addition to the 'Sweden Democrats' party, who are against immigration, politicians from other parties are also trying to win votes with right-wing populist statements. "

A few days ago the Swedish immigration authority "Migrationsverket" presented its forecast for 2015. Between 140,000 and 190,000 refugees are expected to apply for asylum in Sweden this year. Of these, up to 40,000 will be unaccompanied minor refugees, according to Merjem Maslo, who works for the Migration Association. In 2014 a total of 80,000 people came to Sweden:

"At the beginning of this year, 1,200 refugees came to Sweden a week, currently there are 10,000. And in our forecasts we assume that the EU will not agree on fixed distribution quotas by the end of the year."

Up to 45,000 missing beds by the end of 2015

Sweden has also been overwhelmed by the refugee crisis and is completely overwhelmed by the situation. According to the forecast that has now been published, an additional 29 billion kroner would be needed for the care of refugees this year alone, which translates to a good three billion euros. According to the forecast, by 2017 it could be 73 billion crowns, around eight billion euros.

Since 2012, all regular refugee accommodation has been hopelessly overcrowded, said Anders Danielsson, Director General of Migrationsverket at a press conference last Thursday. Up to 45,000 beds could be missing by the end of the year. In the meantime it is also being checked whether shelters could be released and used as accommodation for asylum seekers, says Danielsson:

"Last night, for example, we had a situation where all the places in the accommodations were occupied. That is also a challenge for society, how we can solve this problem."

Churches, gyms, tents. All of this is also used for accommodation in Sweden. There shouldn't be too little space for new settlements in the sparsely populated country. But if social benefits are cut and Swedes have to compete with refugees for jobs, the mood can turn very quickly. Madelaine Sedlitz:

"Now that the wind is blowing so hard, it will show whether a democratic society like Sweden can cope with the refugee crisis. It should also not be forgotten that many people have not even noticed anything in their lives Media reports, but the refugee crisis has not yet arrived in everyday life for many. "

Sweden also relies on distribution quotas within the European Union and a fairer distribution of the costs of housing the refugees. The asylum procedure should be simplified and costs should be saved if possible. It is still completely unclear where the additional billions needed will come from.