Swedish Newspaper Expressen has reported that the results of the country’s 2017 national “Economy Report” are not positive.
“The rapid population growth as a result of the large refugee reception last year and a childbirth [rate] approaching historically high levels puts pressure on municipalities and county councils.”
Swedish Minister of Finance Magdalena Andersson has raised the issue of the retirement age in the European country. “Looking at those who start working at 30, there should be opportunities to work longer than 65,” Andersson told a Swedish journalist.
The country has been growing more dependent recently, as the native Swedish population continues to age and refugees continue to fail to find employment. According to SVT, fewer than 500 of the 162,000 refugees accepted in 2016 are working. This represents an employment placement rate of fewer than a half a percent.
This is exacerbated financially by massive spending on welfare. According to a report prepared for the European Commision, in April of 2016 the Swedish government was forced to increase welfare spending by about 10 billion SEK.
“Sweden’s need for welfare increases faster than our revenues,” reported Expressen.
The massive population growth has forced spending on more than just welfare. Infrastructure spending in Sweden, largely focused upon the construction of refugee camps and living centers, also continues to increase rapidly.
By 2020, costs are expected to increase by about 250 billion SEK. This increase has introduced a gap between Swedish tax revenues and state spending. In order to cover the additional cost, tax rates will either need to increase, or the retirement age will have to increase. It’s likely that some combination of both will occur.
It is difficult to predict how public opinion will evolve concerning the spending issues. Anti-migrant sentiment appears to be growing in the small Northern European country, but official reports declare this a non-issue.
If Sweden wishes to maintain its place as one of the most prosperous countries in the world, they will have to search for financial solutions that don’t involve raising taxes. A start will be finding jobs for the hundreds of thousands of unemployed asylum seekers. Or, as more and more groups in Europe are demanding, deporting them.