Sweden's Social Democrat Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, who during his time in office has consistently denied any link between mass immigration and crime, appears to have changed his tune on this issue.
“A large immigration, where we can not cope with the integration, also brings a greater risk of the type of problems we see. It is crystal clear,” Löfven said during a parliamentary debate when pressured by Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Åkesson.
Subsequently Löfven explained himself in an interview with the national broadcaster SVT.
“If you have immigration of such scope that you can not cope with the integration, then it is clear that you get social tensions in society, and that is not good,” Löfven told national broadcaster SVT. “We've had it. And that is why the government I lead has made sure to change its immigration policy,” Löfven continued.
“We have had such immigration, that means that we are no longer managing integration properly. If there are not enough adults coming to work, the children may think that this is normal, which means other social tensions. So yes, it is a problem and that is why the government I lead has changed the migration policy, so now we take in significantly fewer,” said Löfven.
SVT's domestic policy commentator Mats Knutson noted that it marks the first time Löfven has ever admitted a link between immigration and the development of crime.
“He has not done that before. On the contrary, he has reflexively dismissed all possible connections here, and this has led to criticism from the opposition, especially the Sweden Democrats and the Moderates, becoming increasingly harsh,” Knutson noted. According to Knutson, the change of language reflects the necessity for the Social Democrats to keep up with the debate on immigration and gang crime.
Earlier this week, Swedish deputy police chief Mats Löving warned that at least 40 crime families have established themselves in Sweden solely for the purpose of organised crime and have been gaining more traction in recent times. This has sparked debates about the failures and shortcomings of Sweden's open-doors immigration policy.
Löfven's perceived reversal has added fuel to the fire.
“As of 21.00 tonight, Stefan Löfven decided that it is no longer racist to link immigration with crime,” Moderate MP Arin Karapet tweeted. “Yesterday it was racist, fascist and indecent to make that connection. Something dramatic has happened in the last 24 hours, and reality has caught up with the Social Democrats,” he added.
Från och med kl 21.00 ikväll har Stefan Löfven bestämt att det inte längre är rasistiskt att sammankoppla invandring med kriminalitet. pic.twitter.com/GLg9yWslTO— Arin Karapet (@KarapetArin) September 9, 2020
“Just so you know, whoever saw the connection BEFORE Löfven was indecent at best and racist at worst, and whoever sees them NOW is simply wise and insightful,” Alice Teodorescu Måwe of the Moderate Party tweeted.
Bara så att alla hänger med: den som såg sambanden FÖRE Löfven var oanständig i bästa fall och rasist i värsta fall, den som ser dem från och med NU är helt enkelt bara väldigt klok och insiktsfull.— Alice Teodorescu Måwe (@alicemedce) September 9, 2020
“I'm confused... Does this mean that Löfven is a racist Nazi fascist now?” another Twitter user asked wryly, parroting the Social Democrats' own rhetoric toward opponents of mass immigration.
Jag blir förvirrad..— FidelKassler (@FidelKassler) September 9, 2020
Är Löfven rasistnazistfascist nu? pic.twitter.com/a2fnOYBIa4
Until the 1990s Sweden was one of Europe's most homogeneous nations. Following decades of mass immigration, however, the share of immigrants and their descendants has quickly soared to around a quarter of the Swedish population of over 10 million. The Social Democrats appear to have benefited from immigration, as the majority of immigrants tend to vote for left-of-the-centre parties, including the Social Democrats, who have led Sweden for the most part of the 20th century.
According to Tobias Hübinette, a researcher in minorities, whiteness and “Swedishness”, 52.8 percent of all children in major cities are of immigrant descent. Depending on the rate of immigration and demographic trends, ethnic Swedes have projected to become a minority in their own country anywhere between 2040 and 2065.