Sweden could solve their migrant problem by creating a new state-within-a-state where national laws don’t apply and sending thousands of migrants and so-called refugees there, the incoming chief economist of the influential World Bank has said. Paul Romer, director of New York University’s Stern School of Business Urbanisation Project made the remarks about his unusual approach to Sweden’s migrant crisis this week in an interview with the national newspaper Dagens Nyter. Suggesting the zone could model itself on British Hong Kong, the senior economist said it could bring enormous benefit at no cost to the taxpayer.
Explaining his plan, the economist said: “The refugee issue is a huge
problem, but there are possible solutions. Sweden, a sparsely populated
country, could rent out a land area the size of Hong Kong.
“That could take millions of people who would support themselves, and
not have to cost anything… It is important that this free zone should
be considered independent, with it’s own laws and rules, and not as part
“Those who live there would not be Swedish citizens, but would live their lives completely separately from the rest of society”.
The economist has already suggested a similar zone for the United
States, using the land in Guantanamo Bay to create an autonomous colony
for refugees and migrants.
To make the zone work, Romer said there would have to be strong
border controls with the rest of Sweden”making it impossible for free
zone inhabitants to move to the other side of the border”. Freeing the
migrants from restrictive labour laws such as the minimum wage and
working time limits would stimulate economic growth within the zone, he
The basis for this assumption again rests with Hong Kong — the low
regulation British crown colony which was one of the richest places on
the earth — and that the arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants
would follow those who came from China and would be hard working and
There are other real-world examples of where this has worked — the
Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, a small parcel of land in northern
Europe geographically isolated from the bulk of the nation — is the
fastest growing region of Russia and per-capita, one of the richest.
Yet the European experience of newly arrived migrants has
predominantly not been one like that of Hong Kong, where Chinese
arrivals were entrepreneurial. Despite initial optimism about the power
of mass migration powered by the refugee crisis to solve Germany’s
demographic issues and fill gaps in the labour force, employment of
so-called refugees has been stunted.
Of the over one million migrants that arrived in 2105, most have been found to be “unemployable” as the vast majority have absolutely no qualifications
whatsoever. Just 54 had found employment with top German firms, despite
a significant government-backed drive for publicly listed German
businesses to hire asylum seekers.