Sweden’s Far Right Gaining Ground as Social Problems Mount

Sweden’s immigration policy is honourable but has not come without social problems — which in turn herald a political shakeup. PHOTO: Globalriskinsights.com

By Hans Mathias Moeller | 10 March 2017

GLOBAL RISK INSIGHTS — Sweden has accepted more refugees per capita than any other European country. At the height of the European refugee crisis in 2015, Sweden accepted 10,000 refugees per week. Sweden’s liberal immigration policy is honourable, but it does not come without problems. As social problems increase, Sweden’s far right party, the Sweden Democrats (SD) are gaining territory and will likely be the major winner in the next election.

Failed integration and high immigration equals social problems

Sweden has 53 areas defined as particularly vulnerable areas, vulnerable areas, and risk areas. 15 of these areas are particularly vulnerable and are primarily located in the suburbs of Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmo. The National Operations Department (NOA), part of the Swedish police, defines particularly vulnerable areas as areas where the safety and security situation is difficult or impossible to control. Attacks against police officers are common, particularly during arrests. The most notable outbreak of violence occurred in 2013 when hundreds of cars and schools were set on fire and police were attacked in Stockholm’s poorer suburbs. Intimidation of witnesses to crimes that could testify in court is common, which undermines the legal system.

NOA also mentions that particularly vulnerable areas in Sweden have parallel society structures, or their own norms, economies, and legal systems. Violence is a regular occurrence and can happen during the day and put innocent bystanders at risk. The level of violence is increasingly deadly, particularly between different criminal constellations. Religious extremism is present in a third of these areas with intolerance against moderate Muslims and individuals travelling to join foreign terrorist groups.


Particularly vulnerable areas are in red. Source: Nationella Operativa Avdelningen (NOA)

The number of particularly vulnerable areas will most likely increase. A major reason is that Sweden, for all its good intentions, has failed to integrate newcomers into the labor market. A segregated housing market and school system are some of the root causes for why many newcomers fail to receive adequate education and become competitive enough to successfully enter the labor market. […]

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