01 November 2022

The Swedish Change of Government

With the current turbulences of British politics, Sweden may come across as a quiet Nordic country where not much is happening. Surprisingly little has been written about the Swedish elections from a legal perspective. On September 11, 2022, Swedes voted for a center-rightwing coalition with support from the far right. The purpose of this blog post is to discuss whether the Swedish election is as dangerous as it has been portrayed or if it (simultaneously) represents a mainstreaming of Swedish laws with some of the EU legal framework and is perhaps likely to activate Swedish courts to refer to EU courts more often. Continue reading >>
16 Mai 2022

A Swedish NATO Membership and Its Constitutional Barriers

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the debate about a possible NATO membership in Sweden has been intense. The ruling Social Democratic Party was against a membership for a long time, but on Sunday 15 May it changed its position. Now everything points to a Swedish NATO accession and it seems likely that the constitutional barriers for that are surprisingly low: parliamentary approval with a simple majority vote. Continue reading >>
11 April 2022

Function creep, altered affordances, and safeguard rollbacks

Alongside the expansion of surveillance regimes, there is a parallel development of equal importance, through what could be described as safeguard rollbacks. These are different from surveillance creep, in that the aim and purpose of surveillance mandates remains largely the same, but the associated safeguards are gradually weakened. These rollbacks have generally taken place where mandates were initially put in place with strict limits to ensure proportionality and legal certainty, but where the effectiveness of those mandates are later argued to be limited due to the safeguards themselves. Continue reading >>
16 März 2022

The EU as Quasi-NATO

Putin has reportedly threatened both Sweden and Finland against joining NATO, attempting to preempt a shift away from the commitment to neutrality that is deeply embedded in the Swedish political soul. It is therefore all the more interesting that Sweden and Finland have recently concluded a new strategy of enhanced security cooperation between the states. In addition, the Swedish government, together with Finland, has sent a letter to other EU Member States reminding them of their obligation to assist any EU country in case of belligerent attack. Should we interpret this as an expectation for the EU to function effectively as a quasi-NATO? Continue reading >>
15 Dezember 2021

Der „Ketchup-Effekt“

Ein genauerer Blick auf den Einsatz von Überwachungsmaßnahmen durch die schwedischen Behörden nach dem 11. September 2001 zeigt, dass diese Entwicklung am besten mit dem "Ketchup-Effekt" beschrieben werden kann: Wenn man die Flasche öffnet, kommt zunächst nichts heraus, und dann kommt alles auf einmal, und man hat sein Gericht ruiniert. Continue reading >>

The ‘Ketchup Effect’

A closer look at the use of surveillance measures by public authorities in Sweden following 9/11 reveals that once it began, the development can perhaps best be described as displaying a ‘ketchup effect’; where you open the bottle and at first nothing comes out, and then it all comes out at once and you have effectively ruined your dish (which, depending on your view of ketchup, may have been doomed from the moment you picked up the bottle). Continue reading >>
24 Februar 2021

COVID-19 in Sweden: A Soft Power Approach

The Swedish political and legal response to the Covid-19 pandemic is best described as soft in terms of the character of the measures applied, and decentralized in terms of the division of powers and responsibilities. Swedish constitutional law does not provide for a state of emergency in a peace time crisis, such as a pandemic. Instead, the principle of statutory anticipation is used, which means that ordinary laws (with, in some cases, special provisions which can be activated) apply also in a time of crisis, e.g. the Public Order Act (POA), which allows the government to restrict the number of participants in public meetings or organized public events. Where these powers are deemed to be insufficient, the legislative procedure should be sufficiently flexible to allow new powers to be added relatively speedily. However, the events in 2020 showed that this approach suffers from several deficiencies. Continue reading >>
07 Mai 2020

Sweden and COVID 19: A Constitutional Perspective

The Swedish government’s ways of handling the Corona crisis have drawn a lot of international attention. Sweden has tried to limit the spread of the disease by means of recommendations, rather than quarantines and curfews. There is no provision in the Swedish constitution for the declaration of a state of emergency in peacetime, only in war or where there is an imminent danger of war. Instead, the Swedish approach is to have delegations to the government, and sub-delegations to administrative agencies in a variety of statutes. Continue reading >>
10 April 2020

Corona and the Absence of a Real Constitutional Debate in Sweden

Despite the horrors of the Corona disease, and indeed in order to combat it efficiently as a society, Sweden requires a robust and healthy constitutional and democratic debate. Corona is a human disaster and the suffering it spreads has yet to be accounted for. It is also an unprecedented challenge to our political and constitutional institutions and our almost nonexistent public discourse. Continue reading >>
23 Juni 2015

Abortion Inside Swedish Democracy: the case of Ellinor Grimmark

Sweden prides itself on being one of the most “modern” nations, able to function more effectively than others and skilled in taking care of all of its citizens. The concept of freedom features prominently in Swedish political and social self-conceptions. It has been, therefore, rather startling to find the case of Ellinor Grimmark, a Swedish midwife who has unsuccessfully attempted to assert her right of conscientious objection to performing abortions. Continue reading >>
30 Mai 2013

Vorratsdatenspeicherung: Schweden ist nicht Deutschland

Der EuGH hat Schweden wegen dessen Versäumnis, die EU-Richtlinie zur Vorratsdatenspeicherung umzusetzen, zu drei Millionen Euro Bußgeld verurteilt. Den gleichen Vorwurf könnte man auch Deutschland machen. Doch das Urteil taugt nicht für voreilige Schlüsse, denn die deutsche Situation ist mit der Schwedens nicht vergleichbar. Continue reading >>
04 März 2013

Parlamentarische Verfassungskontrolle: Von Schweden lernen

In der letzten Woche waren Mitglieder des schwedischen Verfassungskomitees zu […] Continue reading >>
28 Februar 2013

Von Karlsruhe nach Bückeburg – auf dem Weg zur europäischen Grundrechtsgemeinschaft

Es gibt Urteile, deren Tenor ist ein Paukenschlag – und […] Continue reading >>
26 Februar 2013

Wo das Unionsrecht hinreicht, da reicht auch die Grundrechtecharta hin

Verstößt Schweden, wenn es Steuerhinterzieher doppelt bestraft, gegen die Europäische […] Continue reading >>
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