Sweden's new coordinator against violent extremism Anna Carlstedt.
Sweden's new coordinator against violent extremism Anna Carlstedt. Foto: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Sweden apppoints new coordinator against violent extremism

Anna Carlstedt: It is a difficult and complex job but also important.
2:29 min

The former chair of the Red Cross in Sweden, Anna Carlstedt, has been appointed as the latest national coordinator against violent extremism.

Hillevi Engström's successor as national coordinator against violent extremism was presented at a press conference at Rosenbad in Stockholm, Tuesday, when the government received the report "Protecting democracy against violent extremism - national structure and local responsibility."

The Minister for Culture and Democracy Alice Bah Kuhnke first spoke of the terror attack in Berlin.

"The hatred and extremism is painfully long from being resolved," she said.

The former Alliance government decided in the summer of 2014 to appoint a national coordinator to safeguard democracy against violent extremism. The task went to the former Social Democrat leader Mona Sahlin, who resigned following allegations she had misrepresented the salary of one of her bodyguards in order to help him qualify to purchase a home. Her successor Hillevi Engström said she was stepping down after just one month in the post.

Anna Carlstedt, a former chairperson of the Red Cross in Sweden is now the new national coordinator aaginst violent extremism. She takes up her role on January 1st. Alice Bah Kuhnke said that she was uniquely qualified for the job due to her understanding of Swedish society. Carlstedt herself said that she understands the difficulty of the role.   

"It is a difficult and complex job but also important," Anna Carlstedt told Swedish Radio.

The post has received criticism in recent months. Last week the government presented its own alarming report that said that a phoneline set-up to advise parents who are worried that their children will be drawn into extremist environments does not work, with many parents unable to get through.

Hillevi Engstrom, the outgoing coordinator, also criticised what she found when she took over the post from Mona Sahlin.

Hillevi Engström wrote in an opinion piece in Dagens Nyheter on Tuesday that when the coordination mandate expires in early 2018, the responsibility should be placed in the hands of the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB).

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