From immigration to the environment: five things we learned about Sweden’s new right-wing government
Sweden’s new government formation is expected to be approved by parliament in Stockholm on Monday, bringing the moderates, led by likely Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, into a formal three-party coalition deal with the Christian Democrats and Liberals.
But it is the far-right Swedish Democrats, the largest of the four parties in terms of MPs, who will technically be a not-so-silent partner outside government, but who hold the reins of power in practice.
The new government has published its 62-page political diary, so what have we learned about where Sweden will go? Here is our look at five key areas:
1. The Swedish Democrats have a lot of cards
The whole relationship between the three parties that form the coalition government and their partners, the Swedish Democrats, is underpinned by the agreement they all signed.
And it’s clear that Sweden’s far-right, anti-immigrant Democrats wield a lot of power. They may not have a cabinet post, but as the largest party of the four, they are in government in name only.
“The parties which are not in government have full and equal influence on matters of cooperation projects in the same way as the parties in government”, declares in black and white the “Tidö Accord”, named after the castle where the negotiations took place. .
The influence of the Swedish democrats goes even further: they will have a say in the drafting of all new laws, amendments to regulations and budgetary decisions. And they will be able to place their own political operatives in government ministries to vet the work of other parties who hold ministries dealing with the seven core policy areas the government wants to address in its first year.
There are also restrictions in the agreement on parties in government working with parties outside government, which pretty much ends any notion of cooperation between the parties on some of the biggest issues facing the country.
2. Sweden is getting tough on immigrants
Sweden’s new 3+1 government is about to get much tougher on the Nordic nation’s immigrant population and on people who want to come to Sweden in the future.
Asylum seekers can still come forward and apply, but they will be expected to stay only temporarily – and even then, only if they are refugees from countries “near Sweden”. “. Regional authorities will also be able to launch their own campaigns to encourage migrants to return home voluntarily.
The new government wants to approve family reunification for asylum seekers only after two years of permanent residency, which potentially means a long wait for families separated by conflict before they can reunite again.
Anyone who wishes to stay longer in Sweden “must take responsibility for becoming part of Swedish society”, which means, at the very least, the obligation to learn the language before being able to obtain citizenship, but that does not say not how far this integration should go or how it will be tested.
There is also a proposal that wants to subject people from outside the EU to DNA testing, with their genetic profiles “stored in searchable registers”.
3. Sweden’s international profile is changing
The headline here is that Sweden will reduce the number of refugees from the quota of 5,000 people a year to just 900.
There are also plans to cut the country’s international aid budget from 1% of GDP to 0.85%.
And as the country tightens its borders, the new government wants to be able to send Swedish border police to EU airports to carry out passport and identity checks in places where there have always been high numbers of migrant passengers or asylum seekers.
If you are traveling to Sweden from another country, even from inside the EU, the new right-wing coalition wants to reintroduce identity checks on buses, trains and ferries.
4. There’s a criminal crackdown coming
Sweden has seen an upsurge in crime gang-related violence in recent years, which is described in the agreement as “Sweden’s main social problem” and which the parties have linked to immigration and migration. integration and are committed to solving.
Unsurprisingly, they are cracking down on criminal activity with a series of proposals in the new government program, including double penalties for members of criminal gangs; harsher penalties for rape; making street begging a crime; promising more money to the police – and giving them stop and search powers in parts of the country designated as high crime areas.
“The aim is to increase safety, prevent more young people from becoming involved in crime, investigate more crimes leading to prosecution and combat serious organized crime,” the agreement reads. .
In particular, the new government wants to know how many foreigners are involved in organized criminal gangs, which makes it an offense to even be a member of a gang and to be able to deport foreigners suspected of gang membership, even if they have not been convicted by a court.
5. More tools to tackle the climate crisis
The new government plans to do more to tackle the climate crisis while meeting Sweden’s current commitments to reduce carbon emissions.
For starters, there’s more money for nuclear, with 36 billion euros in credit guarantees to build new nuclear plants, and also rules to make it harder for nuclear plants to shut down.
And to ensure security of electricity supply in the short term (and keep prices low), the government will investigate the viability of reopening two nuclear power plants in the south of the country that have been shut down in recent years.
There will be a government-funded energy bill price cap introduced by November, and the country’s network of electric vehicle charging points will be expanded.