Monday

25th Sep 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 and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  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.

In cooperation with

News in Brief

  1. Merkel wins fourth term, exit polls say
  2. EU to hail 'aspirations' of former Soviet states
  3. UK says credit downgrade was wrong
  4. Dutch state appeals ban on taking air-polluting measures
  5. May proposes 2-year transition period after Brexit
  6. May to call on EU's 'sense of responsibility'
  7. Catalonia has 'contingency plans' for independence vote
  8. Last German polls confirm Merkel's lead

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EEEU Finance Ministers Agreed to Develop New Digital Taxation Rules
  2. Mission of China to the EUGermany Stands Ready to Deepen Cooperation With China
  3. World VisionFirst Ever Young People Consultation to Discuss the Much Needed Peace in Europe
  4. European Jewish CongressGermany First Country to Adopt Working Definition of Antisemitism
  5. EU2017EEFour Tax Initiatives to Modernise the EU's Tax System
  6. Dialogue PlatformResponsibility in Practice: Gulen & Islamic Thought
  7. Counter BalanceHuman Rights Concerns Over EIB Loan to the Trans Anatolian Pipeline Project
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina Leads the Global Clean Energy Transition
  9. CES - Silicones EuropeFrom Baking Moulds to Oven Mitts, Silicones Are a Key Ingredient in Kitchens
  10. Martens CentreFor a New Europeanism: How to Put the Motto "Unity in Diversity" Into Practice
  11. Access MBAGet Ahead With an MBA Degree. Top MBA Event in Brussels
  12. Idealist QuarterlyIdealist Quarterly Event: Building Fearless Democracies With Gerald Hensel