Proposed changes to Sweden’s constitution aim to tighten legislation against terrorism
Swedish parliamentarians will next week vote on constitutional changes put forward by the government to ease Turkey’s objections to Stockholm’s bid to join NATO, the country’s parliament, the Riksdag, has said.
The proposed changes would make it possible to strengthen anti-terrorism laws, including limiting the “freedom of association of groups involved in terrorism,” parliament said in a statement on Tuesday.
The vote is scheduled to take place on November 16. The amendments, if approved, will take effect on January 1, 2023.
The changes were proposed under the previous left-wing government and the Riksdag has already voted yes. But in order to be implemented, they also need the approval of the new parliament, which was formed after the parliamentary elections in September. The vote brought the conservatives to power, with Ulf Kristersson becoming prime minister, but the changes are still expected to go through. So far, only the Left Party, which has 24 seats out of 349 in the Riksdag, has opposed the proposed changes.
The announcement from parliament followed Kristersson’s trip to Ankara on Tuesday, where he stated that “Sweden will live up to all commitments made to Turkey to counter the terrorist threat before becoming a member of NATO and as a future ally.”
Sweden’s prime minister described the changes to the constitution as “big steps… that will give Swedish judicial authorities more muscle to fight terrorism.”
The parties agreed to hold another meeting at the end of October, which Kristersson said he hoped would produce “a more positive conclusion”.
Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO in May in response to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. Türkiye, which has been a member of the US-led military bloc since 1952, accused the two countries of harboring members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and other groups it considers terrorist organizations, and threatened to block their bids.
The sides signed a memorandum at a NATO summit in June that appeared to have broken the deadlock. However, Ankara later said it was unhappy with how the terms of the agreement were being implemented by Sweden, especially when it comes to cracking down on terrorist groups and extraditing suspects to Türkiye.