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Visit to Sweden on « Migration and asylum in the election campaign and the consequences on the welcoming and rights of migrants»

Pierre-Alain Fridez (Switzerland, SOC), Rapporteur on how migration and asylum are being discussed during electoral campaigns, has completed a two-day visit on 24-26 May 2023 in Sweden. Indeed, the Tidö political agreement in the wake of the elections in September 2022 lays the ground for a major turn in Sweden’s migration policy.

During his visit, the Rapporteur heard the views of political parties, local authorities, civil society organisations, representatives from various administrations as well as from academics. Migration appeared as a central topic when touching on various political challenges.

Meetings were held in Stockholm and in the municipality of Botkyrka, a member of the Council of Europe’s Intercultural Cities programme. According to the Rapporteur, “all the stakeholders met in Botkyrka expressed their strong eagerness to provide for integration conditions and the enjoyment of citizenship that value diversity. These efforts are carried out in a serene and appeased environment in contrast with the negative portrayals often made of this locality and which stains its reputation.”

Mr Fridez expressed his concerns about several measures envisaged to implement the Tidö agreement, some of which may be in contradiction with the Council of Europe’s recommendations, especially regarding the best interest of the child. “These measures seem to be based on a restrictive understanding that may not entirely reflect on the various social and economic elements accounting for voters’ concerns as expressed in the polls,” he added.

“I am struck by the alarmist narrative on migration when referring to integration and security challenges”, stressed Mr Fridez. Sweden seems to echo the situation faced in other European countries where certain restrictive migration and asylum policies may lead to the stigmatisation and the infringement of the fundamental rights of migrants, refugees, as well as of people perceived as foreigners.

The report will be presented in Committee by the end of 2023.