Minister built extra floor on house without permission

Sweden's new trade minister, Ewa Björling, built an extra floor on her house near Stockholm without planning permission. The claim has been seized on by papers itching to find dirt on the new minister, after two ministers were forced to resign last year over unpaid TV-licences and untaxed domestic staff.

When Björling and her husband applied in 2002 for planning permission for their house, the plans showed only one floor on the rear side. The finished house had two floors, breaking the terms of the planning permission. The couple also removed earth from the site, giving it a very different appearance.

“We don’t care who it is who lives here in our municipality, even if it’s the king. Everyone’s treated the same,” Lennart Nilsson, chairman of Ekerö’s planning committee and member of Björling’s Moderate Party, told Expressen.

Ekerö has been threatening the Björlings with a fine if they don’t remodel their house.

Björling’s spokeswoman, Roberta Alenius, said the couple was waiting for the result of an appeal of the planning committee’s decision.

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt read a list of Björling’s past sins when he presented her on Wednesday. He admitted that she had paid for untaxed labour and added that she had dumped earth outside her property during the building of the house, but he omitted to say that she had broken the terms of the planning permission.