SWEDEN New grant requirements - denominations must apply
Those who represent organizations must live up to the requirements we have, says Anders Ygeman (S), Minister of Integration and Migration. Photo: Paul Wennerholm / TT, Gorm Kallestad / TT

SWEDEN: New grant requirements – denominations must apply

SwedenToday, the government presented proposals for new legislation, with new democratic conditions for stronger control over state support for civil society and religious communities. The conditions for support for organizations that can be linked to pro-violence messages are also tightened.

Originally published in Swedish by svt NYHETER on 17 May 2022 and written by Carol Atallah

Following the Assignment review’s revelation of so-called “pleasure marriage”, the government said last week that it is working intensively to review the democratic condition for grants given to religious communities. According to Minister for Gender Equality Eva Nordmark (S), there is a need to, among other things, restrict contributions to associations that engage in this type of “pimp activity”.

Already in 2015, the parliamentary parties agreed that no public funds should go to pro-violence messages. Since then, two inquiries have been appointed and submitted proposals, 2018 and 2019, respectively. Today, the Government announces: The conditions for support will be tightened.

In the past, it has been enough for organizations “to contribute to maintaining and strengthening the fundamental values on which society rests” and “is stable and has its own vitality”. Now a lot of requirements are added to the list.

Now an organization can also have the grant stopped if one of its representatives violates the democratic conditions.

– There are exceptions if the person is excluded from an organization after a strange statement, but otherwise it is the case that those who represent the organization must live up to the requirements we have, says Anders Ygeman (S), Minister of Integration and Migration.

Religious communities must apply

All denominations must now apply for grants again and show that they live up to the new conditions. If they do not, they will not receive any support.

– More than half of the population makes an individual contribution each year. These zealots thereby contribute to breaking the segregation and counteracting loneliness and vulnerability. That is why we support civil society, says Minister of Culture Jeanette Gustafsdotter (S).

But clearer, more modern legislation is needed that increases confidence in the support system, the government says. Exactly how to ensure that grants are not paid to organizations that do not live up to the requirements is not entirely clear.

– There are ongoing discussions about linking an expert function to this. It can be Säpo or the Center against Violent Extremism, says Anders Ygeman (S).

Review in progress

The new laws and amendments to the law are proposed to enter into force on 1 January 2023.

In January, the National Audit Office began a review of four authorities’ contributions to organizations with a social focus. It is expected to be presented in February next year.

Lester Somrah

Lester Somrah

Lester Somrah writes about the beliefs and practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses on his social media platforms and was baptized as a member in 1998.

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