Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven seems to have changed his position on the relationship between immigration and crime.
Löfven, representing the Social Democratic Party, was asked on Wednesday In the Aktuellt program of the Swedish broadcaster SVT, whether large – scale immigration leads to increased crime.
– If immigration is such that the integration of newcomers is not resolved, it is clear that social tensions will arise, Löfven said.
– And it’s not good. And so it has happened to us.
Earlier in the day, Löfven had expressed a similar statement in the Swedish party leaders’ exam, after a moderate coalition of Ulf Kristersson and the Swedish Democrats Jimmie Åkesson examined him on the subject. Löfven has not previously spoken in this tone about the challenges of his governments in integrating immigrants.
However, the Prime Minister emphasized at SVT that crime should not be associated with any particular ethnic background, color or religion. Nevertheless, the comments are a change of direction compared to the Social Democrats’ previous line that gang crime, which plagues the country, should in no way be linked to immigration.
Gang crime has become a hot topic in Sweden in the early autumn with several acts of violence. For example, in early August, a 12-year-old girl was accidentally shot to death in a gang showdown on the outskirts of Stockholm.
Last weekend, the head of the Swedish police Mats Löfving said Swedish radio in an interview that there are forty criminal “clans” in the country, made up of immigrant families.
The Swedish government is currently working on reforming immigration laws. Among other things, Löfven is in favor of significantly tightening up the residence permit process. The reason he said on Wednesday at SVT was the problems that had just followed the previous, failed immigration policy.
The Prime Minister’s recent comments are feared to lead even to a government crisis in the western neighborhood, as the Social Democrat government partner, the Environmental Party, is on quite different lines on immigration. The parties form two minority governments.
Earlier in the summer, Löfven proposed limiting the number of refugees coming to Sweden. However, he had to back down from his proposal when the environmental party threatened to overthrow the government.
The Environmental Party was also a member of Löfven’s board during the last parliamentary term. The blackmail on immigration policy at the time led to a decline in party support, and popularity has still not recovered.
Dagens Nyheterin according to a recent Gallup, 54 per cent of Swedes would like to put the country in a change of government. Nearly half of the moderate Conservative and Christian Democrat voters would also take the immigration-critical Swedish Democrats into the new government. Until a few years ago, virtually all other parties sharply refused to cooperate with the party.