Sweden ‘breaking EU law’ over ID ban

Sweden could be breaking EU law by making it too difficult for citizens of other EU countries to get Swedish ID cards.

Svensk Kassaservice, a state-owned agency formerly part of Swedish post office Posten, introduced new rules on ID in January. As The Local has reported, these make it near-impossible to get a Swedish ID card if you are not Swedish, married to a Swede or a blood relative of a Swede.

But according to the European Commission’s office in Stockholm, this rule could get Sweden into trouble in Brussels.

“This could be contrary to directive 2004/38, which concerns the free movement of people within the Union,” said Eric Degerbeck at the European Commission’s Stockholm office.

“Citizens of other European Union countries should be on an equal footing with Swedish citizens,” he said.

The Swedish government’s response so far has been to treat the issue as a matter purely for Svensk Kassaservice, but Degerbeck says it is the government that is accountable.

“The Swedish government has a responsibility to see that EU law is applied.”

“If this is not possible under the current arrangements, it will have to offer alternative arrangements.”

People who have been affected by the issue can make a complaint to the European Commission. While the Commission can take up matters without a complaint having been filed, a specific case usually makes the case more effective, according to Degerbeck.

When the Commission receives a complaint, the government is asked to give a response. If the Commission is not satisfied with the response, further proceedings can follow. Ultimately, if the government fails to back down, the Commission could take Sweden to the European Court of Justice.

Citizens of EU countries wishing to make a complaint can send it to: DG JLS, rue de Loi 200, 1049 Brussels, Belgium.

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