Ulf Kristersson.
Credit: Tommy Alexandersson/Sveriges Radio.

Moderate leadership wants new citizens to be able to speak Swedish

At a party assembly starting on Thursday in Örebro, Ulf Kristersson, the new leader of Sweden's opposition Moderate Party is expected to push for a language requirement for those receiving Swedish citizenship.

The party is meeting to determine its policies going into the next election.

"The connection between citizenship and the [Swedish] language should be strengthened," the proposal in the program for the assembly reads. 

"We propose that a fundamental knowledge of Swedish should be brought in as a requirement for citizenship. Such a requirement is missing today. This separates us from Germany, Norway, Denmark and Finland." 

The party will also discuss a proposal requiring that those seeking Swedish citizenship can support themselves, and that the amount of time applicants need to have been living in Sweden before citizenship is granted be extended from five to seven years. "New arrivals" in Sweden would undergo a 100-hour program of lessons on how Swedish society functions, followed by an examination on Swedish society, with those who fail the test having to retake part or all of the program.  

The proposals, set down before the party's former leader Anna Kinberg Batra resigned a month ago, represent a shift to the right from the centre ground onto which the last prime minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt drove the party when he became leader 14 years ago.

Some 200 attendees, from municipalities across Sweden, will discuss and vote for the proposals at the assembly.  

The assembly will also mull over a push towards a migration policy based on a system of quota refugees, who would have to seek asylum before they enter the European Union. Quota refugees are selected by the U.N.

The party's deputy chair Elisabeth Svantesson, said previously that Sweden would need to push a discussion within the European Union on changing the Geneva Convention to achieve this.

They will also discuss measures aimed at halving the employment gap between those born inside and outside Sweden. 

The assembly starts on Thursday morning and will continue until lunchtime on Sunday.


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