Sweden wants EU help to relocate refugees

Passengers among them migrants and refugees, exit the German ferry terminal in Goteborg, Sweden, September 11, 2015. REUTERS/Adam Ihse/TT News Agency

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden will ask the European Commission to arrange for migrants to be moved from the Nordic state to other EU countries, joining Greece and Italy among others in seeking help to cope with record asylum numbers. An official request to be part of the European Union's refugee redistribution system is part of an agreement to tighten immigration rules that Sweden's center-left Prime Minister Stefan Lofven made with center-right opposition parties a fortnight ago. The deal also included the introduction of three-year temporary residence permits, with exceptions for some groups including families with children and unaccompanied minors. Almost everyone granted asylum in Sweden in the past has been given permanent residency. "Tomorrow my government will decide to request the relocation of migrants from Sweden to other states," Lofven, who leads a minority government, said at a press conference. "It is clear that all member states need to take their responsibility." The Swedish Migration Agency has said 190,000 refugees could arrive this year, smashing the previous record of 84,000 set during the Balkan wars of the 1990s. The agency has requested an extra 70 billion Swedish crowns ($8.2 billion) to cope with the situation, forcing Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson to outline across-the-board spending cuts and raised borrowing. At the EU summit on the refugee crisis this summer, member states agreed on the redistribution of 160,000 asylum seekers around the bloc. Greece relocated six asylum-seeking families to Luxembourg on Wednesday, the first such transfer from its soil under the EU scheme. However, it remains unclear how refugees can be made to stay in the countries to which they are assigned when most want to go to Germany, Sweden or other wealthy states. (Reporting by Johan Sennero; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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