Thursday

23rd Nov 2017

Focus

Sweden woos Morocco on street children

  • Children in Morocco. (Photo: James/Flickr)

Sweden’s foreign minister, Margot Wallstroem, visited Rabat on Tuesday and Wednesday (6 and 7 September) in an attempt to lubricate deportations of Moroccan street children living in Sweden.

The readmission deal was concluded in May.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Swedish authorities estimate that around 800 Moroccan minors are sleeping rough in Sweden. It has shown very difficult to get them to return home or away from the streets.

Some 225 young people have been ordered by Swedish authorities to leave, and most of them have since gone underground. Sweden's migration agency does not know how many actually left the country.

Wallstroem met with her counterpart Salaheddine Mezouar and was optimistic after the meeting that the deal would start working.

”There was good will on both sides”, Wallstroem told Swedish tabloid Expressen.

Meanwhile, Morocco’s minister of interior sounded like a solution was far off when he replied to a question by EUobserver during a visit in Brussels

”We have no information about these people,” Mohamed Hassad said during a conference at the European Parliament. ”Who are they, how did they get there, are they really Moroccans? We don’t know”, he said.

”These kids, we have been speaking about them for years, so I guess they are adults now,” he added.

More child criminals

Swedish NGOs and police say the readmission agreement isn’t working.

Tobias Glad from the charity Habibi told Swedish news agency TT young people are not welcomed by their families in Morocco, who send them back to Europe as soon as they return.

Elin Wernquist from Barnrattsbyran, another NGO, told Swedish Radio she wasn’t aware of a single case where a child had returned to Morocco.

She also worried that recent changes to Sweden’s migration laws - which cut social benefits for asylum seekers who refused to return home - would push the children further into the underworld.

”From our perspective, nothing has happened in terms of return. But when it comes to the social protection that Sweden offers, there has been a drastic deterioration, pushing these young people into crime and exploitation,” she said.

Policeman Kristian Freden, in charge of the unaccompanied minors at the Swedish border police, told Swedish radio he could see a small change in Morocco's attitude to take back their citizens.

But he agreed with Wernquist that more children had ended up on the street, where they engaged in crime and were exposed to abuse.

Morocco agreed to sign the readmission deal after the Swedish government earlier this year U-turned on a decision to recognise Western Sahara , which was illegally annexed by the north African kingdom.

Nordic people prioritise closer defence cooperation

"We live in turbulent times so people want to seek comfort," says Norway's new defence minister Frank Bakke-Jensen as Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Iceland - plus Baltics - meet in Helsinki.

Supported by

News in Brief

  1. December euro summit still on, Tusk confirms
  2. EU calls for end to Kenya election crisis
  3. Report: Israeli PM invited to meet EU ministers
  4. French banks close Le Pen accounts
  5. Commission relaxes rules on labelling free range eggs
  6. Commission issues €34m fine over car equipment cartel
  7. Estonian presidency 'delighted' with emissions trading vote
  8. Mladic found guilty of genocide and war crimes

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  2. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  3. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  4. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC to French President Macron: We Oppose All Contact With Far-Right & Far-Left
  6. EPSUWith EU Pillar of Social Rights in Place, Time Is Ticking for Commission to Deliver
  7. ILGA EuropeBan on LGBTI Events in Ankara Must Be Overturned
  8. Bio-Based IndustriesBio-Based Industries: European Growth is in Our Nature!
  9. Dialogue PlatformErdogan's Most Vulnerable Victims: Women and Children
  10. UNICEFEuropean Parliament Marks World Children's Day by Launching Dialogue With Children
  11. European Jewish CongressAntisemitism in Europe Today: Is It Still a Threat to Free and Open Society?
  12. Counter BalanceNew Report: Juncker Plan Backs Billions in Fossil Fuels and Carbon-Heavy Infrastructure

Latest News

  1. Mali blames West for chaos in Libya
  2. Orban stokes up his voters with anti-Soros 'consultation'
  3. Commission warns Italy over high debt level
  4. Mladic found guilty for Bosnia genocide and war crimes
  5. Uber may face fines in EU for keeping data breach secret
  6. EU counter-propaganda 'harms' relations, Russia says
  7. The EU's half-hearted Ostpolitik
  8. Glyphosate: 1.3 million EU citizens call for ban