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Moderate Party wants stricter citizenship requirements

A Swedish passport.
A Swedish passport. Credit: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

The Moderate Party on Thursday called for both changing - and making the requirements more stringent - for Swedish citizenship.

In an op-ed published by newspaper Dagens Nyheter, the party said the changes would foster integration and place Sweden's citizenship requirements on par with neigboring Nordic countries.

Tomas Tobé, the party's justice spokesperson, and Gunnar Strömmer, a member of the party's board, proposed adding a Swedish language requirement. Potential citizens would have to take a test or show proof they completed university courses.

Under the proposed changes applicants would also need to reside in Sweden for seven years, instead of the current five, and would need to be able to support themselves financially.

The pair also suggested tougher punishments for those caught illegally using a Swedish passport, and they advocated for investigating whether Sweden should revoke citizenship if someone commits a serious crime, such as an act of terrorism.

That proposal caused sharp reactions on the left and right. Left Party leader Jonas Sjöstedt said he was completely against the idea of withdrawing citizenship.

"We have rules that say if you commit serious crimes you can be expelled from the country. We think that is good. But once you have become a Swedish citizen, you've become an equal," he told Swedish Radio.

Roger Haddad, Liberal Party spokesman on justice issues, agrees saying that the proposal would create two sets of rules: one for native-born Swedes and another for naturalized citizen.

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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