Sweden: harsh solutions to integration problems?

General elections will take place in Sweden on 11 September, and politicians are trying to win support by taking a tough stance on migration policy. The right-wing nationalist Sweden Democrats want to tear down a bridge under construction between a wealthy and a poor neighbourhood in Stockholm, and Social Democratic Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson has also pointed to integration problems. The press is sceptical.

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Aftonbladet (SE) /

Build bridges instead of fences

It's not the migrants in poor neighbourhoods who display segregationist tendencies, says Aftonbladet:

“In this election campaign the focus is often on integration and segregation - but what does that actually mean? The [conservative] Moderates warn against compulsory 'bussing' as a means to ensure that children from different backgrounds go to the same school. In rich municipalities, right-wing politicians are gaining support with promises not to build new [cheap] rental housing so that not just anyone can move there. Yet it often sounds like it's those who live in poor neighbourhoods who don't want to integrate. ... In reality, it's the other way around.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Ethnic enclaves are not the problem

Sweden's Social Democratic Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson has stressed that she does not want ethnic enclaves like "Somalitown" or "Chinatown" in the country. But such enclaves are not in and of themselves a bad thing, argues Dagens Nyheter:

“The problem is not that [new arrivals] move to Somalitown. It's understandable if people first move in with their own kind. It is when these areas become closed systems that this becomes a problem. When Swedish society doesn't reach into them. ... At least for second-generation immigrants there should be equal opportunities, there should be fair possibilities for social advancement.”