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Hotbrevet to the government – the EU can withdraw hundreds of million in refugee aid

Sweden was one of the EU countries which received the most asylum seekers during the refugee crisis in 2015. The government, public authorities and municipalities sounded the alarm that the whole of the Swedish reception system was about to fail. Than in the day to handle the consequences of the year when over 160,000 people sought asylum in Sweden.

The Swedish government demands that other EU countries should do more and take a greater responsibility for those who fled to Europe. At the same time, Sweden is also several billion crowns from the EU through a special fund to strengthen the reception of asylum seekers. The fund, called the Asylum, migration and integration fund (AMIF), is managed in Sweden by the Swedish migration board on behalf of the government.

Read more: EU-millions that no one wants to have

the DN can now reveal that the EU-the commission, on several occasions, threatened to withdraw large parts of the aid – because Sweden does not use the money from the fund.

Migrants on a highway in Hungary in connection with the great flyktingvågen 2015. Photo: Roger Turesson

the EU commission's director general for migration, Paraskevi Michou, a letter to the migration minister Morgan Johansson's secretary of state.

”I want to share with you my concerns regarding the implementation of Asylum, migration and integration fund,” she writes.

According to the letter follows the EUROPEAN commission the development in Sweden is closely and Paraskevi Michou is not satisfied with how the Swedish government handles the contributions from the EU.

In the letter, she writes that Sweden has so far only allocated 26% of its total assets.

”Based on the current level of planning, risk that the EU funds of approximately eur 100 million to be withdrawn, and thus be lost for Sweden.”

In a letter pressing the EUROPEAN commission that the issue should be taken up with the ministry of finance with the reason of ”the financial risks linked to the existing budget priorities in Sweden.”

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three billion from the AMIF during the current programming period 2014-2020. Approximately 1.3 billion is earmarked for projects in the areas of asylum, integration and return. Among other things, authorities, municipalities and ngos apply for grants via the Swedish migration board.

Although the Swedish Migration board general director Mikael Ribbenvik has received pressure from the EUROPEAN commission. In a letter from april invited he to ”take all necessary measures” to overcome the low utilization of the fund.

the Swedish Migration board general director Mikael Ribbenvik, together with the migration minister Morgan Johansson (S). Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

the EU commission writes to 47.9 million euros – more than half a billion dollars – is liable to be revoked solely based on budgetary information from 2017. The process starts about eight months, in January 2020.

is the team leader for the function of the authority of the EU funds and work daily with the issue. She confirms the EUROPEAN commission's view that a large part of the money from the AMIF not be awarded in Sweden, although the Swedish Migration board's own figures differ somewhat from the EUROPEAN commission.

" the Reason our numbers did not tally with the figures that the commission states in its letter to Lars Westbratt is that since then, we have awarded more money to the project. Therefore, the figure today is slightly higher than the 26 per cent.

According to the Swedish migration board has so far granted the EU contribution of just over sek 400 million, i.e. less than a third of the total programme budget of approximately sek 1.3 billion.

Anna Svensson says that already now see that Sweden will not manage to use all the money it received from the EU.

According to a rough estimate will be between 40 and 60 percent get to use, which means that as much as 800 million of the EU contribution can be lost.

– It depends on how you count and what happens. It is not sure numbers but it is about the level it is all about, " says Anna Svensson.

Image 1 of 2 Letter from EUROPEAN commission director general for migration, Paraskevi Michou, migration minister Morgan Johansson state secretary Lars Westbratt. the Slide 2 of 2 Slide show

that the risk that the money would burn inside has received attention for a long time. Already in 2017, took the Swedish Migration board's internal audit raised the issue in a risk report.

Despite the aggravation of the problems in 2018. Unlike the previous years was missing since the Migration directions completely the formal authorization from the government, which is required to be able to share out the subsidies. Not in vårändringsbudgeten gave the government the necessary decision.

as a result, the migration board was forced to abort the ongoing call and the incoming requests were rejected and no new projects were granted EU funding in 2018.

"We had intended to grant a number of projects since, but it was not because we did not have the opportunity," says Anna Svensson at the Swedish migration board.

I think it is about the policy

" this is a technicality that is required for us to be allowed to sign a contract with the project. That in itself costs nothing. For this reason, it seems rather odd that they did not give us any beställningsbemyndigande. But I do not dare to go in and answer the why. I think it is about the policy and if there is any direct reason to it so it is the government which can respond best to it.

Letters were sent to the migration minister Morgan Johansson (S) the secretary of state. Photo: Daniel Costantini

the Decision led not only to the reactions on the Swedish migration board, but also on several big institutions who invested resources and effort to develop project applications.

In a letter to the government writes a representative for Uppsala university and asking if the government ”has no plan B to save his reputation and confidence vis-à-vis the scientific community”.

the process in 2018, there are several other factors that played into that Sweden is used as a bit of EU money. In all of the Swedish Migration board annual reports since 2014 is shown first to work with AMIF, the first is greatly delayed, and then that the fund has not been utilized sufficiently.

the Programming period started in 2014, but the migration board began to share out the money first in 2016 on the basis that the work went out on time in both Sweden and the EU.

This means cumulatively for the programming period of seven years, 2014-2020, so have three of the years completely lost when it is not at all possible to apply for EU-funding in Sweden.

People with transparency, says to DN that there may have been political reasons why the government does not prioritize the issue. Even if the money comes from the EU, it looks like an item of expenditure in the field of migration in the budget – an expense item that it said that it'll pull down on. In addition, the shared the money only for projects and may not be used to pay the state's operating costs for asylum - and migration management.

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