Ideology and Entry Policy: Why Non-Socialist Parties in Sweden Support Open Door Migration Policies
Typ av text: Paper
Publicerad av: The Politics of Migration: Citizenship, Inclusion and Discourse in Europe, Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, November 10-12,2011. An earlier version was also presented at the 2011 Annual Meeting of theSwedish Political Science Association, University of Umeå, Sweden, October 27-28, 2011.
Författare: Andrea Spehar, Greg Bucken-Knapp & Jonas Hinnefors
Antal sidor: 36
Vad texten handlar om
The paper tries to analyse the tendencies of the different Swedish political parties in opposing/ supporting ‘open door’ migration policy in Sweden. The paper focuses on the role of non-socialist parties in supporting an open door migration policy. It also wishes “to highlight how the preferences held by these parties indicate limitation of several key contenders used for analyzing party behavior in the realm of immigration policy, and how the limits of their explanatory capacity allows us to take the first critical step in another direction: considering the role of party ideology” (23)
The writers claim that liberal (center-right) parties in Sweden have been in favour of open migration policy, “particularly in the instance of asylum policy” (6) in comparison to the socialist parties (Social Democrats) which the text claims to have always changed their policy “either to make entry policies stricter or to preserve strict elements” (5)
The writers claim that “the portrayal of non-socialist parties’ migration policies as being predominantly restrictive is dramatically exaggerated” and that “over the past several decades it is traditional center-right parties and the Greens that have been at the forefront of the push for more open doors when it comes to immigration to Sweden, and not the centre-left” (6).
In 1991-94, as well as from the early 2000s onwards, the writers claim, “the appearance of the xenophobic parliamentary threat to the right triggered off a chain of events resulting in drastically more open Moderate Party policies, in line with the three other coaliton partners and the Greens” (6-7).
The analysis “shows that non-socialist support for generous entry policies is largely consistent over the past several decades, regardless of efforts by far-right populist parties, or the left-of-centre parties, to see more restrictive entry policies enacted. Swedish centre-right parties have been at the fore of all major liberalizations in Swedish migration policy in the last two decades, including wide-scale permanent residence permits for refugees, and a dramatic liberalisation of labour migration policies” (7)
The study also claims that “the last three decades of refugee policy making in Sweden can be characterized as highly dynamic and far from consensual” (17).
The study gives an example about the openness of centre-right parties towards immigration by referring to the decision made by the newly then elected centre-right government when their “first action was to withdraw the previous SAP government’s bill of ‘An active immigration and refugee policy proposed in early 1991” (17) a bill which suggested that “refugees seeking asylum in Sweden should be granted temporary residence permits rather than permanent ones..and that the refugees should be helped back to their home countries as soon as possible” (17).
The writers argue that in that context of the 1991 elections, “the Liberals held the Department for Cultural Affairs (which dealt with immigration issues at that time) and were able to mold government refugee policies in an increasingly open direction” (18), while the then Social Democratic “minister of immigration affairs held that immigration to refugee numbers were essential in order to safeguard a dignified reception in the new country” (18).
The text also claims that “ in the four electoral cycles when anti-immigration have constituted a realist party threat to the established parties, 1991-94, 2002-06, 2006-10 and 2010-, Swedish non-socialist parties have made support for various open entry policy measures a visible component of their politics, both in terms of labour migration and refugee/asylum seekers” (24).
party policy, immigration, ideology, liberalism
Metoden för studien
party policy analysis, discourse analysis
Ev förslag för vidare granskning
- “ A more nuanced understanding of how non-socialist parties make sense of the strategic environment associated with entry policies also requires a consideration of the potential role played by party ideology” (5)