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Swedish report Swedish report
by Euro Reporter
2012-03-06 08:12:36
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Sweden Democrats in bid to 'help' immigrants leave

The Sweden Democrats' youth wing wants to entice jobless immigrants to leave the country by offering them "goodie bags" complete with tips on how to facilitate immigrants' departure. The project, entitled “There’s no place like home” ('Borta bra men hemma bäst'), is designed to allow immigrants the opportunity to better understand the options and possibilities available to help them return to their home soil. “We are convinced that among the many immigrants in Sweden who have ended up in alienation and social isolation the dream of being able to go back to their home land and reunite with their countrymen is still alive,” wrote the Sweden Democrat youth organization (Sverigedemokratisk Ungdom - SDU) in a statement.

Plans call for the party to distribute 10,000 "goodie bags" filled with USB memory sticks, DVDs, and other information in various languages about how to apply for repatriation grants. In order to pay for the project, the SDU has applied for 100,000 kronor ($14,957) from the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket), which allows any organization to seek support for repatriation projects. Should the funding request be approved, the SDU plans on targeting immigrants who have been granted permanent residency in Sweden but have not paid taxes over the past ten years. "It's aimed at those who haven't succeeded in getting a job and fitting in to Swedish culture," SDU head Gustav Kasselstrand told the Expressen newspaper.

But Migration Board spokesperson Johan Rahm dismissed the SDU bid as mere "propaganda". "This looks more like some sort of propaganda statement where they're trying to persuade people to go back," he told Sveriges Radio (SR). According to Rahm, the agency generally receives funding requests from organizations with "deep" ties to other countries that are focused on helping diaspora populations and people that were forced to flee from their home countries. Speaking with Expressen, Rahm argued that SDU's plans were "a way to draw attention to their politics, not to help people who dream of returning" to their home countries.


Sweden goes from best to worst in Scandinavia as trade reliance kills jobs

Sweden’s reliance on exports to Europe has turned Scandinavia’s erstwhile strongest economy into the region’s laggard as job losses undermine demand. “It will get worse before it gets better,” said Andreas Jonsson, an economist at Nordea Bank AB in Stockholm. “We will see rising unemployment during most of 2012.” Jonsson said there is a risk the largest Nordic economy will contract this year, versus the central bank’s forecast for 0.7 percent growth.

A recession would follow 3.9 percent expansion in 2011, when Sweden outgrew neighbouring Norway and Denmark. Now, Swedish reliance on trade with Europe, where it sends 70 percent of exports, has left the nation more vulnerable to the euro region’s debt crisis. Gross domestic product shrank 1.1 percent in the fourth quarter, the statistics office said yesterday. The central bank estimates unemployment will rise to 7.7 percent this year and stay there until 2014.

Central bank Governor Stefan Ingves said Feb. 15 Sweden is entering a period of “much lower growth,” prompting him to cut rates for a second time in as many meetings. Those cuts probably won’t be enough to prevent a recession, Jonsson said. “We’re seeing a big need for downward revisions to the Riksbank’s macro forecasts,” he said. “It also opens up for yet another rate cut in April.”


Sweden sets record for confirmed flu cases

A record 548 new verified flu cases were reported in Sweden last week, officials said. That compares with 416 the previous week and is the highest number of new test-confirmed cases reported in a week since the country began tracking the weekly reports in 1993, TT news agency reported.

State epidemiologist Annika Linde told TT last week an estimated 100,000 Swedes were sick with flu the week of Feb. 12 -- many more than the confirmed number of cases. Anders Wallenstein, a specialist at the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control, said that total number likely had increased last week.

The flu has hit hardest in the Umea area in northern Sweden, on the west coast and in Skane in the south, officials said. Experts predict the number of people coming down with the flu will rise for a few more weeks, but maybe not as quickly.

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