Swedish PM criticises Cameron, defends 'open' Europe

26th March 2013, Comments 0 comments

Sweden's conservative Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on Tuesday criticised his British counterpart David Cameron for his plans to restrict migrants' right to social benefits.

"I think it's unfortunate," Reinfeldt told TT news agency when asked about the initiative Cameron announced on Monday.

"I believe in a Europe that should be open, where we have free circulation of movement, and where we instead ask ourselves how people who come here can get work more easily," he said.

On public broadcaster SR, Reinfeldt also pointed out that Sweden, when it opened its borders to greater immigration from Bulgaria and Romania, saw no major influx of people seeking to abuse the country's generous welfare system and benefits.

"We didn't see this big social tourism that everyone warned us about, and it might be wise to share that experience with others," Reinfeldt said.

Cameron on Monday proposed to limit immigrants' rights to housing, unemployment and health benefits, saying those services were "something migrants earn, not an automatic right."

Immigration has shot up the political agenda as Britain braces for a fresh influx of eastern Europeans after the European Union lifts work restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians in 2014.

© 2013 AFP

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