Sweden says can no longer guarantee housing for new refugees

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden’s migration minister warned on Thursday that the government could no longer guarantee finding accommodation for newly arrived refugees as the country applied for EU emergency aid to cope with record number of asylum seekers.

EU migrants are evicted by police from a camp in Malmoe, Sweden, November 3, 2015. REUTERS/Drago Prvulovic/TT News Agency

The Migration Agency said it was preparing to shelter around 50 refugees in the reception area of its headquarters because of the lack of housing.

The agency forecast up to 190,000 asylum seekers would arrive this year, double the previous record from the early 1990s.

“The major problem today is that the number of asylum seekers is growing faster than we can arrange for accommodation,” Justice and Migration Minister Morgan Johansson said.

“Sweden can no longer guarantee accommodation to everyone who comes. Those who are arriving could be met with the news that there isn’t anywhere to stay.”

The agency already plans to shelter thousands of refugees in heated tents due to a housing shortage, while some people may be put in venues such as ski resorts and a theme park.

The government has also applied to the European Commission to arrange for some of those to be moved to other EU countries.

The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said on Thuresday refugees and migrants were likely to continue to arrive in Europe at a rate of up to 5,000 per day via Turkey this winter.

More than 760,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean so far this year, mainly to Greece and Italy, after fleeing wars in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as conflicts in Eritrea and other parts of Africa, it said.

The agency is seeking an additional $96.15 million to support Croatia, Greece, Serbia, Slovenia and the former Republic of Macedonia, bringing the total amount that it is trying to raise for Europe’s refugee crisis to $172.7 million.

Reporting by Simon Johnson, Violette Goarant and Daniel Dickson; Editing by Alistair Scrutton and Alison Williams