Despite Sweden bearing a significant burden of incoming refugees, its employment rates are still the envy of Europe. Ylva Johansson, Minister for Employment and Integration, was asked by host of Real Economy, Maithreyi Seetharaman, for her advice on tackling the long-term unemployment crisis in Europe.
Maithreyi Seetharaman: “What would your recommendations be to your fellow labour ministers around Europe?”
Ylva Johansson: “Well, I think the most important thing is: every country has to take their share of the responsibility. Having refugees coming to a country, I think, is not something you can say no to. Of course each country can’t have the whole responsibility but we are living in a world where a lot of people are running away from hell. We have to take our share of the responsibility. This is, I think, the most important thing. It’s not an option to say no to refugees, you have to take your share of the responsibility and help them into the labour market. We might need some reforms in the labour market but we also have to be quite careful about that. In the Swedish case, for example, we have the highest employment rate in the European Union right now and we have had for many years, so something is working quite well in our labour market. We have to be aware that we are not destroying things that are working well in our eager (sic) to help new people into the labour market. I think that we need reforms to focus on those that have specific needs and be a little bit careful about reforms that will turn upside down the whole labour market because actually the Swedish labour market is delivering.”