Refugees disembark and make their way to a camp at a hotel touted as the world's most northerly ski resort in Riksgransen, Sweden, in this December 15, 2015. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins
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Across the border in the far northern Swedish town of Kalix, a traditional bastion of center-left politics, over 100 residents signed a petition against plans to turn a 19th-century country house into a reception center for unaccompanied minors.Anti-immigrant, populist parties have gained support since some 250,000 refugees entered the Nordics last year.A record 163,000 refugees arrived in Sweden and the far right is vying for top spot in polls. The town council agreed to parents' requests for extra security by a motorway underpass near a refugee center for 600 people that opened this month.A February survey showed immigration as the main concern for 40 percent of Swedes, easily trumping worries over failing schools, joblessness and welfare. The IMF estimates that Sweden will spend 1.0 percent of its gross domestic product on asylum-seekers in 2016, by far the highest of 19 European nations surveyed.Last year, Sweden had to find an extra 70,000 school places due to asylum-seekers, on top of 100,000 pupils that normally enter the school system for the first time in any given year.
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