Food and drink is distributed by volunteers to refugees
Stockholm - AFP
Sweden said Thursday it was earmarking extra money to take in and integrate the huge influx of refugees arriving in the country each year.
The government will make 1.8 billion kronor (191 million euros, $215 million) available to local municipalities in 2016 and 2.6 billion kronor in 2017, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told reporters.
The Social Democratic premier said Sweden wanted to "accelerate" the integration of foreigners into Swedish society with more language lessons, professional training, care for unaccompanied child refugees, and schooling, as well as efforts to fight discrimination.
Sweden registered 80,000 asylum requests in 2014 and almost 50,000 in the first eight months of this year, making it the European Union country that has taken in the largest number of refugees as a proportion of its population of nine million.
The large majority of them are in the biggest cities -- the capital Stockholm, Gothenburg on the southwestern coast and Malmo in the south.
In exchange for the extra funds provided, the government plans to require all municipalities to take in their fair share of refugees as of January 1, 2017.
"This is an incentive," Employment Minister Ylva Johansson said.
Sweden has become a top EU destination for refugees by issuing permanent residency to all Syrian asylum seekers.