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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Danes and Swedes Debate Immigration



Some of my regular readers know that I follow the events in Sweden quite closely and that I reference many Swedish language sites. Back in the 1990s, I began studying Swedish while living in the Washington DC area where I had access to a Swedish school every Saturday. I have never completely mastered Swedish since moving back to California, but I do try to keep up a certain level since I am interested in the current situation in Sweden.

As such, I watch a lot of Swedish television. This week on YouTube, I found a fascinating show called Denmark vs Sweden-Debatt, in which two moderators, one Danish and one Swedish, interview guests of both nationalities on current issues. The guests were politicians, government officials, and journalists for the most part.

Danish and Swedish (and Norwegian) are pretty much mutually intelligible languages, and the show is conducted without interpreters. The first show I found was a debate from last September on the topic of immigration.

While Sweden, along with Germany, has been the most welcoming to the influx of refugees, asylum-seekers, and migrants, Denmark has been more restrictive. In the above show (with English sub-titles), I was struck by the naive and arrogant attitude of all but one of the Swedish guests, who basically dismissed the Danes as being racist in their policies. The general line among the Swedes was that Europeans had a duty to admit the refugees and that cooperation with the EU was in order. The Danes expressed concern about such things as lack of assimilation, unemployment, and other problems associated with admitting immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa.

There was one exception among the Swedes and that was a representative from the Swedish Democrats, a conservative party that wants to limit immigration. The lady said nothing controversial only that Europeans should assist the refugees in their own region. The SD lady was dismissed by one of her countrywomen, the communist mayor of Sodertalje, Sweden, a town heavily impacted by immigrants. She described the Swedish Democrats as a party with Nazi roots, and that she had no interest in talking with them. One of the issues the Danes raised was that in Sweden, those who were opposed to immigration were shut out of the public discussion.

If you don't mind watching an hour-long debate reading sub-titles, I recommend this video. It will give you a good insight into the utter cluelessness of the Swedish leadership and elite (Swedish Democrats excepted).

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