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Government picks Hillevi Engström to combat violent extremism

Updated torsdag 2 juni 2016 kl 15.28
Published torsdag 2 juni 2016 kl 12.14
Engström: Must work with each municipality in a different way
(3:11 min)
Alice Bah Kunke (right) names Hillevi Engström as Sweden's new national coordinator against violent extremism. Photo: Maja Suslin / TT.
Alice Bah Kunke (right) names Hillevi Engström as Sweden's new national coordinator against violent extremism. Photo: Maja Suslin / TT.

Moderate Party member Hillevi Engström was named Sweden's new national coordinator against violent extremism on Thursday after the former coordinator resigned amid scandal last month.

Culture and Democracy Minister Alice Bah Kuhnke of the Green Party made the announcement during an afternoon press conference. She told Radio Sweden that Engström is an ideal choice for the job because of her background in Swedish politics.

"She has knowledge and experience from all the different levels of our society and that is crucial for putting froward suggestions on what to do that really have a connection to reality," Bah Kuhnke said.

The position was created in part to help bridge the gap between national authorities and local municipalities when it comes to preventing and combating extremism in all its forms.

Engström will take up her post at the end of the summer and will finish in January 2018.

"We have to talk with people, have dialogue and cooperate," she told Radio Sweden.

A former police officer in Stockholm county, Engström served as Sweden's Employment Minister in 2010 and later as the Minister for International Development Cooperation in 2013. In 2015, she was appointed as the municipal director of Upplands Väsby municipality in northern Stockholm County.

Also announced on Thursday, Ban Kuhnke said the government would task the state-run FOI defence research institute to look into violent extremism spread on online, especially through social media outlets.

The former national coordinator against violent extremism Mona Sahlin resigned in early May when it was revealed that she misrepresented a staffer's salary in order to help him buy an apartment in a wealthy area of Stockholm county.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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