European Interest

How immigration may unite Sweden’s moderates and far-right

Flickr/Socialdemokraterna/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has rejected the idea to bring the Sweden Democrats into the talks.

It is important that all parties in the Swedish parliament unite on immigration, according to Sweden’s centre-right Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson.

“I don’t intend to shut out any parties,” he told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper. “Let everyone who wants to discuss this take part in the conversation.”

As reported by The Local, Kristersson is even willing to invite the Sweden Democrats into cross-party talks. This marks an important moment for the far-right party, long a pariah in Swedish politics because of its historic neo-Nazi links.

The Sweden Democrats are expected to increase their vote share significantly in September, leaving the Moderate Party a difficult decision over to what extent it would be willing to form a government with the party’s passive or active support.

“This is a completely reasonable proposal,” the Sweden Democrats’ party leader Jimmie Åkesson told DN after the invitation. “Talking more is crucial.”

Kristersson’s comments came after the first party leaders’ debate in the run-up to this September’s election, in which he agreed with Prime Minister Stefan Löfven on the need for a cross-party agreement on immigration.

“I am prepared to stretch out a hand in this and say ‘let’s get together and sit ourselves down and create a broad parliamentary agreement on a better refugee policy’,” Kristersson said.

He also stressed that political disagreement had “paralysed” Swedish migration politics.

However, Löfven has rejected the idea to bring the Sweden Democrats into the talks. “SD is not on the table. They don’t actually want to stand up for the right to claim asylum. That says it all,” he said. “But otherwise, I think that it [the agreement] should be as broad as possible, because then it will be more stable.”

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