Sweden presents measures against terrorism 

On 10 December, the Swedish government together with the Alliance parties held a press conference where a joint agreement on measures against terrorism was presented. The negotiations began in late November due to the terrorist attacks in Paris and the fact that SÄPO raised the threat level in Sweden. The Sweden Democrats were not invited. The Left Party participated in the negotiations but does not support the settlement that the other six parties agreed upon, reports Sveriges Radio. However the Left Party stands behind the main part of the new proposals, reports Expressen. “I was a bit surprised that they dropped out… But I would say that even the Left Party has participated and contributed constructively” said the Minister for Home Affairs, Anders Ygeman (S).

Several of the proposals to counter terrorism include new restrictions on passports, including limiting the number of times a person could request a new passport to three times within a five-year period, compared to an unlimited number of times today. In a bid to combat terrorism financing, the agreement states that Sweden’s various financial supervisory authorities should share information more effectively to make it easier to detect terrorist organisation funding. The parties have also agreed to review whether the police should be allowed to monitor encrypted messages.  The parties also agreed to tighten legislation on attempting to access or buy illegal weapons, as well as tougher punishments for handling or purchasing illegal explosives such as hand grenades. Furthermore, local municipalities will also be issued directives on how to prevent radicalisation, and authorities will review and ensure that radical organisations do not receive state funding.
The agreement is summarised in 13 points:
1. Stricter criminalisation of “terrorist trips” – already on December 23 it may be decided in a proposal. 2. Clarification of the responsibility of municipalities to provide a structured and concrete plan to prevent radicalisation and recruitment to violent groups. 3. Measures against illegal weapons and increased penalties for hand grenades and explosive goods. 4. Secret data reading is being investigated in order to ensure the ability to meet the technical development, such as encrypted communications. 5. Ensuring police response capacity. It is a priority to ensure that the police can act on multiple locations simultaneously and for a longer period. 6. A stop to the abuse of Swedish passports. Restrictions imposed on the number of new passports a person may collect over five years. 7. International action – continued dialogue, including with Turkey. 8. The ability to share information digitally for the National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA), the Swedish Military Intelligence and Security Service (MUST) and SÄPO at the National Centre for Terrorist Threat Assessment (NCT). 9. Preventive efforts should be developed. 10. No public funds will be given to organisations that advocate violence. 11. Measures against recruitment on the Internet. 12. The Swedish Prosecution Authority is asked to report on measures taken to ensure that there is readiness to deal with the current crime. 13. Measures to combat terrorist financing. The government will propose a joint mission to the Police Authority, SÄPO, Prosecution Authority, the Swedish Economic Crime Authority (EBM) and the Swedish Tax Agency.
The entire agreement can be found here.

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Jessica Nilsson Williams is the CEO & Founder of Mundus International. She has a long-standing interest in international affairs, having studied and worked in the field for more than 20 years. She began her career as the political advisor at the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm, and then worked in London and Singapore before returning to Stockholm. In 2011 she took up a senior role at the New Zealand Embassy before founding Mundus International in 2012. In addition to working for foreign missions, she has worked in sectors such as NGOs and non-profit organisations (e.g. the Clinton Foundation and the International Red Cross), and television.