Sweden uses money designed for international economic aid on other operations within Sweden


Monday, 30 May 2011
The Swedish government is struggling to cope with a huge amount of refugee arriving the country and this means that they have to tap into their economic aid budget. Therefore, millions designated to economic aid is being culled from the aid budget to be used in asylum management in Sweden. The Swedish opposition parties are not happy.

This year, some Skr5.3 billion has been transferred mainly to take care of an increasing number of refugees arriving in Sweden.

“The pressure that has been on Sweden with increased costs for unaccompanied refugee children, and the believe now that perhaps up to a further 5000 people will find their way to Sweden, means that we need to set aside more money to host them, " said Gunilla Carlsson, Economic aid minister.


In this year's state budget would the so-called settlement of the refugees receive more money from economic aid budget to the tone of Skr4.7 billion. But now it is argued that an additional Skr650 million will be transferred from the economic aid money to refugee assistance and accommodation costs for asylum seekers in Sweden. As such money reserved for economic aid is to be reduced by Skr5.3 billion this year. Also proposed is a tax credit of Skr15 million to, among other things, increase the safety of the Sida's (Swedish aid organisation), humanitarian aid works in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“We are now in very difficult environments, where skilled SIDA workers are detached from trying to monitor the relief operation on the spot in Afghanistan, where it is very difficult to work, but also the security situation is uncertain. There is also the cost for SIDA’s activities expected to increase more and we need to compensate this in the budget, "said Gunilla Carlsson.

The opposition in parliament is critical to the increasing amounts deducted from the economic aid budget.
“Yes, we are very, critical of this proposal by the Government. This means actually taking money from aid activities to fund operations in Sweden,” said Hans Linde, who is economic aid policy spokesperson for the Left Party and who also serves on the Foreign Affairs Committee, speaking to radio Sweden.

“At a time when we know we have over a billion people right now on earth who are hungry, when we know that poverty again is increasing in the world, so we think it is a totally wrong position to take resources from development assistance activities and instead to finance activities in Sweden.”

Gunilla Carlsson rejects the criticism and says that the government only follows generally accepted international rules.
“We work in respect of and in accordance with international rules that exist and the principles upon which Sweden has applied since the early 90s, "she said.

This is not the first time Sweden is being accused of misusing its economic aid money. Recently it was accused of using its economic aid economic aid money to finance it embassy operations around Europe
By Team

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