Refugees Overwhelming Swedish Asylum System

     (CN) – The European Commission said Tuesday it recommends letting Sweden out of its obligation to take Syrian refugees as authorities there cope with a 60 percent increase in asylum applications this year alone.
     With a population of just 9.8 million, Swedish authorities have reported a strain on the nation’s capacities after receiving 68,000 asylum requests in 2014 and 112,000 so far this year.
     The number of applications doubled between August and September, and increased another 61 percent in October – leaving the Swedish asylum system unable to cope or to guarantee reception conditions required by EU law.
     “Our Swedish friends are in a unique situation and we must take into account the exceptional increase in asylum applications that they are facing,” migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said. “The commission has proposed to the council to grant Sweden a one-year suspension of its obligations, to allow its asylum and reception system to recover from the exceptional burden it is under.”
     Sweden has the EU’s highest number of asylum seekers per capita, the commission said.
     The relocation scheme passed by the European Council this past September include a provision that allows member states overloaded by sharp increases in refugee flows to request a temporary suspension of their obligations to take refugees.
     This past month, Sweden told the commission it was raising border controls at selected harbors and a bridge connecting it to Denmark in an effort to stem the “unexpected” flow of refugees into the Nordic nation.

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