Svea Rikes Lag liggande på ett bord, ovanpå lagboken balanserar en domarklubba. Foto: Jessica Gow/TT.
The Swedish statue book. Credit: Jessica Gow / TT

Brussels attack "unlikely" to affect Swedish terror laws: analyst

Fredrik Furtenbach: "Political parties generally in agreement"
3:23 min

The attacks in Brussels this week are not likely to have an immediate effect Swedish terrorism laws, as they were amended relatively recently, says Swedish Radio's political correspondent Fredrik Furtenbach.

After the terrorist attack in Paris in November last year, the government - made up of Social Democrats and the Green party - made a deal with the four centre-right Alliance parties about a range of anti-terrorism proposals that were pushed through parliament in December.

Several of the laws will come into effect on the 1st of April. For example, from then on, it will be illegal to travel abroad with a view to committing a terrorist offence. It will also be illegal to organise and pay for such trips, or to organise or take part in training in how to carry out terrorist attacks.

Another law that will come into effect later this spring will make it more difficult - and more expensive - for those who again and again apply for a new passport. If you apply for a new passport more than three times in a five-year period, a special type of "disposable" passport that can only be used for one trip abroad will be issued. 

Other bills that are currently being prepared is one that will make it illegal to have any dealings with terrorism groups, and one that will allow police to wire-tap computer communication so that they can access encrypted conversations on Skype for example.

But Swedish Radio's political commentator Fredrik Furtenbach notes that there are also proposals that will not make it into law.

"After the terrorist attacks in Paris, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven demanded that EU would use biometric information such as finger prints or the shape of someone's face, at the passport control at the EU's external borders. But that did not happen, as too many EU-countries were against it," he tells Swedish Radio News.

Meanwhile, the biggest opposition party, the conservative Moderates, wants to make it possible for police investigations to access information from the national agency for gathering signals intelligence (FRA). But this is something the government is not so keen on, says Furtenbach, partly because it may reveal too much about how the FRA is working, and partly because it would mean that a suspect would have to defend him or herself against information that is classified.

But generally, the Swedish political parties are in agreement on what measures are needed, says Fredrik Furtenbach.

"The opposition has mainly said that the government is doing too little too late, than that what is is doing is wrong - and that is what usually happens when the parties are pretty much agreeing on what needs to be done," he says.

Because of all the changes that are already in the pipeline, the terrorist attacks in Brussels are not likely to have any major effect on the Swedish terror laws, says Fredrik Furtenbach. But there may be other changes on an EU-level that affect Sweden.

"The terrorist attacks can affect the military efforts of the EU-countries, for example in Syria or Iraq, and that will of course have an effect also on Sweden. After the attacks in Paris, France renewed its attacks against the IS in Syria, and Sweden contributed with a transport plane for that," says Furtenbach.

He adds that there are currently discussions in the EU that the countries need to get better at informing each-other about suspected terrorists and what they do, so that may change how things are done. But for the time being, the changes that we do know are happening, are the ones decided on already in the end of last year.

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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