On Thursday evening, the Swedish Prime Minister made an extraordinary announcement revealing that members of the country’s armed forces could be deployed to combat serious gang violence. The announcement could further complicate Sweden’s already tangled up NATO candidacy, as Hungarian lawmakers could pin the Nordic country’s serious internal instability on the growing list of their objections.
Whether internal instability is an issue in Sweden is no longer a point in dispute. When an army is deployed, as it well may be, to restore order within its own civilian population, this is a sure sign of grave problems with law and order. Despite Sweden’s undeniable military capabilities and the exceptionally high quality of its armed forces, such internal disorder could derail its ambitions to join the world’s largest defense alliance.
On Thursday evening, the prime minister gave a six and a half minute speech to the nation. The speech came only hours after three people were killed in two shootings and a blast in Stockholm and Uppsala. In September alone, 12 people fell victim to gang violence, perpetrated almost exclusively by criminals with a migrant background.
Kristersson described several recent acts of violence in his speech: “An increasing number of children and innocent people are now being affected by this violence. I cannot emphasize enough how serious the situation is. Sweden has never seen anything like this before. No other country in Europe has seen anything like it,” said the Prime Minister.
The Swedish head of government also stressed that the perpetrators must be defeated, brought to justice, and deported if they are foreign nationals. “The fact is that many of us saw this coming and warned about it. Serious organized crime has grown over a decade.
It is political naivety and cluelessness that has brought us here. An irresponsible immigration policy and failed integration.
Exclusion and parallel societies feed the criminal gangs. There they can ruthlessly recruit children and train future killers.”
Ulf Kristersson. Photo: European Council
The prime minister noted that the government is therefore changing both migration and criminal policy.
The prime minister has also summoned National Police Commissioner Anders Thornberg and Commander-in-Chief Micael Bydén to discuss how the Armed Forces can help police in the fight against gang violence.
Hungary and Turkey are yet to ratify Sweden’s request to join NATO. Although the Hungarian Prime Minister had pledged to support the request, the unrelenting political attacks from the Swedish government, the media, and NGOs have driven some government MPs to question whether they want a country that is waging an ideological crusade against Budapest on their side in NATO. Only recently did the Swedish embassy in Budapest join a petition admonishing Hungary for its alleged ill treatment of LGBTQ groups. Furthermore, an educational institution, UR, had also compiled a video depicting Hungary as an oppressive authoritarian society with the use of well-known anti-government activists and politicians, just to list some of the most recent incidents.
The near collapse in law and order in Sweden should send a clear message to the Kristersson government that instead of antagonizing a European ally and a potential future NATO one, it should join forces with Hungary in calling for an overhaul of the European asylum system. Although Kristersson’s party, the Moderates, who call themselves liberal-conservatives, should be Hungary’s natural allies in many fronts, especially since they are propped up by the center-right Sweden Democrats, relations between the two countries remain tense.
Featured Image: Swedish Army Veteran