STOCKHOLM—Sweden has among the worst border controls in Europe, according to a report—shared with a newspaper—that may have been suppressed to prevent the findings from influencing recent Swedish elections.
Last year, EU inspectors visited Sweden, interviewed border police officers and compiled a report that is still classified, but was shared with reporters from the Kvallsposten newspaper. The report, “Evaluation of Sweden in the Field of Management of the External Borders,” levels brutal criticism against Swedish border control, Kvallsposten reports.
Swedish controls are undermanned, the staff is poorly trained, and their working methods inappropriate, increasing the risk of returning jihadist extremists who are Swedish citizens or have permanent residency slipping through undetected, according to the report.
One source who spoke to Kvallsposten and was formerly employed by the border police, confirmed these findings.
“The report shows what we already know: This is a two-bit operation,” the source said.
After an unprecedented influx of refugees and migrants in 2015, the extremely generous Swedish policy changed almost overnight, and border controls were implemented.
Sweden, like most European countries, is part of the Schengen Agreement, which means that people usually move freely between member states without border checks. But the border checks were mostly for show, according to Kvallsposten’s source.
‘No Real Border Control’
“There is no real border control, that is, no database checks. Only ID checks,” the source said.
Border-control agents in the south of Sweden, which is the access point for most migrants who try to get into the country from the rest of Europe, told Kvallsposten that they think the EU border control agency Frontex should help Sweden secure its borders. The agency could act as it did with crisis-stricken Greece, which is a main destination for migrants smuggled across the Mediterranean from the Middle East and Africa into Europe.
Apart from them “not being able to protect society,” the southern border control sources also said that some asylum-seekers are being wrongfully detained because the staff isn’t properly trained.
Compounding matters, several police officers told Kvallsposten that the police management had commented internally that the report was too sensitive and would be kept under wraps until after the elections. Migration, crime, and border control were all big election issues.
Liselott Strom, head of the border control unit of the Stockholm police, denied to Kvallsposten that she had said that the report was to be suppressed and that the final report is still pending. Minister for Justice and Home Affairs Morgan Johansson has been informed of the preliminary findings but hasn’t yet commented, according to the Ministry of Justice.
Johan Westerholm, an investigative journalist with deep connections within the ruling Social Democratic Party, commented on the report in an article on his site Ledarsidorna.se. He wrote that the weakening of border controls goes back farther than the current government, but said he holds Johansson responsible for much of the dismantling of Swedish border security.
“The Minister for Justice has a long history of not wanting to keep Sweden’s borders safe, including not wanting to work with the rest of Europe in the fight against terrorism,” Westerholm wrote. “Since 2010, when Johansson became chairman of the Justice Committee, the tempo and the interest for these issues were lowered radically. … All initiatives to sharpen legislation were rejected.”
Westerholm finds it strange that none of the other parties—including the Sweden Democrats, whose No. 1 issue is limiting migration—have reacted to the lax policies.
“What’s happening should be regarded, by extension, as a quiet revolution, destabilizing Swedish society,” he wrote. “A quiet revolution carried out in tacit agreement.”