07:58 GMT +325 May 2019
Listen Live
    Sweden's former prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt

    Former Swedish PM Urges Country to Shut Up and Love Refugees

    © AFP 2019 / JUSTIN TALLIS
    Europe
    Get short URL
    6644

    Sweden's former Prime Minister Frederik Reinfeldt is making a media comeback in a new speech, in which he tells his fellow citizens to stop complaining about refugees, went viral.

    "Open your hearts," said Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to his fellow compatriots in a notorious speech in the Summer of 2014, which triggered an unrestrained influx of refugees that remains unparalleled in Scandinavia. The popular opposition against uncontrolled immigration has since become tougher, but the former Prime Minister nonetheless is sticking to his convictions.

    "The true vulnerability is to flee without even knowing if you can survive," he says in his new inflammatory speech.

    Reinfeldt actually made the speech over a week ago at a beneficiary lottery event, but it did not grab the public's attention until over the weekend, after it was shared by the civil rights lawyer Robert Hårdh, head of the organization Civil Rights Defenders. Hårdh liked the former PM's message so much that he posted it on Facebook, lauding it as "a speech the prime minister should have given."

    "There is an obvious lack of leadership in Sweden, and I think that the crisis is largely due to the erroneous assertion that we, as one of the world's richest countries, do not have the capacity to help," he said, praising Reinfeldt.

    Reinfeldt urged his compatriots not to exaggerate the refugee crisis as well as censured those who use the word "collapse" to describe the current asylum situation in Sweden.

    "If Sweden has collapsed and nothing works, what words have we have got left to describe what is now happening in Syria, Libya and Afghanistan? We must be careful with our words," Reinfeldt said.

    The former head of the Moderate party (Moderaterna), who topped a centre-right coalition government between 2006-2014, became known for his staunch pro-immigration stance. Famously, Reinfeldt rejected the notion that Sweden offers a safe haven for more refugees than the country can cope with, arguing that there is plenty of room in the Nordic countries for more human beings fleeing oppression and war.

    "What does the word "enough" mean? Sweden is full? The Nordic region is full? Are we too many people? We are 25 million people living in the North. I often fly over the Swedish countryside and I would advise others to do. There are endless fields and forests. There's more space than you might imagine", said Reinfeldt in 2014.

    Last year, Sweden took in around 163,000 refugees, according to the BBC, but has been struggling to provide housing and education for all, while the popular support for the current Prime Minister Stefan Löfven (the Socialist Party) is dwindling.

    Related:

    Immigration Critics Behind a Cyber-Attack on Sweden's Tabloids, Not Russia
    Refugee Shelters Set on Fire in Sweden Overnight
    Hospitality U-Turn: Sweden Offers Summer Hiatus for Asylum Seekers
    Tags:
    immigration policy, refugees, Fredrik Reinfeldt, Sweden
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik