Sweden and Norway: the Northern route of refugees

On November 12th Sweden has established some temporary controls at the Öresund Bridge, which connects Malmö and the country to neighboring Denmark. The arrival of two hundred thousand migrants is expected in the current year in Sweden, whose population does not reach ten million (on November 12th sixteen hundred people have applied for asylum). The northern European country - if you look to the size of its population - is home to the highest number of refugees in the continent.

Malmo, Sweden - Volunteers distribute food and drinks to migrants who arrived at Malmo train station in Sweden on the morning of September 10, 2015. REUTERS/Ola Torkelsson/TT News Agency
The Swedish institutions ensure high standards of living conditions to refugees, but the dramatic events in the Middle East resulted in increased arrivals.

The Swedish Premier Stefan Löfven (Social Democrats) has stressed the need to keep the flows within proportions that are sustainable for the Nordic country, that, taking account of its small population, double the efforts of Germany in the reception of refugees. Recently, the difficulties related to integration have been exploited by the right-wing populist party (the Sverigedemokraterna) but the majority of Swedes cares about the human right issue involved in the refugee crisis: groups like 'I gor vad We kan '('we do what we can ') were founded to support those who arrive in Sweden from conflict areas.

Citizens have been involved in relief initiatives with the coordination of organizations such as the Swedish Agency for Migration ('Migrationsverket') and many businesses allocate some of the proceeds to support refugees. Despite the shortage of flats, now a feature of many urban areas, cities have set up plans for improving the effectiveness of efforts to assist refugees. Hundreds of people organize language courses and the Swedish Red Cross is represented by activists in dozens of places where refugees are housed.

On November 12th, after a meeting of the parliamentary leaders, Norway has announced that at this time border controls are not necessary. Erna Solberg, who is Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party, that is governing with the support of the right-wing party Fremskrittspartiet, clarified that any adaptation of the rules to the changing magnitude of immigration flows will be carried out in agreement with Labour, Christian Democrats and Socialist Left: the government has recognized the need to protect the basic values of the state in favor of the assistance to those who flee from conflict areas.

Some refugees arrive in Norway through the Arctic and the Russian Federation, that claimed that it cannot prevent the free movement of people - legally residing in Russia - to other states, because that would be against international law: then the task of assessing applications for asylum rests with Norway, refugees need assistance measures, in a country with climatic conditions that are very different from their regions of origin. Only in the first week of November, almost two thousand and five hundred asked to settle in the Nordic state.

This year the asylum seekers in Norway have exceeded 24,000 people, twice the number recorded in 2014. At the end of October (despite the launch of controversial campaigns to 'advertise' integration problems and rules of the country of arrival), the Norwegian Government began to consider the possibility of drawing considerable sums from the sovereign wealth fund (established to counterbalance the future exhaustion of oil revenues) in order to meet the rising costs of the integration of refugees, whose number is expected to increase further in 2016. The attention to human rights in the Northern European state makes these countries destinations that are worth the heavy uncertainties of the journey for those who flee from conflicts.


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