‘Hire non-Swedes for sensitive posts’: Säpo

Swedish security service Säpo wants to make it easier for foreign nationals to fill sensitive positions within the Swedish state as part of a “necessary modernization”.

'Hire non-Swedes for sensitive posts': Säpo

The government is set to review the laws governing Säpo’s role in determining who can be hired for government positions requiring a security clearance, the Sydsvenskan newspaper reports.

Currently, the law gives Säpo the power to stop foreign nationals and others deemed to be inappropriate for sensitive positions.

But as the Swedish labour market becomes woven ever more tightly within the larger EU labour market, Säpo believes its policies of automatically shutting foreign citizens from sensitive jobs with the Swedish state are outdated.

“This type of modernization is necessary. We do after all have free movement in Europe,” Säpo director general Anders Danielsson told the newspaper.

Previously, a cabinet decision was required before hiring a non-Swede for positions requiring a security clearance.

Säpo hopes the change will allow it to hire competent foreign staff.

Danielsson also believes that the agency will have to perform checks on an increasing number of people employed at private companies contracted to carry out vital functions within society, such as operating nuclear power plants.

Currently, Säpo isn’t allowed to investigate the backgrounds of people employed at privately owned nuclear plants.

“There’s pressure from public opinion here. People think that Säpo should be checking on the people who run our nuclear reactors,” he told Sydsvenskan.

Danielsson also wants Sweden’s state agencies to adapt to NATO standards and bolster protections of digital information.

He also added that it’s becoming more difficult for Säpo to define what exactly constitutes “national security” and to protect “Swedish interests” in a globalized age.

In Danielsson’s eyes, an electronic attack is currently the biggest threat facing Sweden, as such an attack could not only compromise the country internally, but also make Sweden more vulnerable to military and other external threats.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Swedish Huawei ban is legal, court rules

A Swedish ban on Chinese telecoms company Huawei was confirmed in court on Tuesday, citing the country's security as a just reason for banning its equipment in a 5G rollout.

Swedish Huawei ban is legal, court rules
Photo: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

The administrative court in Stockholm ruled that the decision of the Swedish telecoms authority, PTS, to ban the use of equipment from Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE in a new Swedish 5G telecom network last October — a move that irked Beijing — was legal.

Equipment already installed must also be removed by January 1st, 2025.

“Sweden’s security is an important reason and the administrative court has considered that it’s only the security police and the military that together have a full picture when it comes to the security situation and threats against Sweden,” judge Ulrika Melin said in a statement.

Huawei denounced the ruling, but did not say whether it would appeal.

“We are of course noting that there has been no evidence of any wrongdoings by Huawei which is being used as basis for this verdict, it is purely based on assumption,” Kenneth Fredriksen, the company’s vice-president for Central, Eastern Europe and the Nordic region, told AFP.

Huawei will now evaluate the decision and the “see what kind of actions we will take to protect our rights,” Fredriksen added.

After the UK in the summer of 2020, Sweden became the second country in Europe and the first in the EU to explicitly ban Huawei from almost all of the network infrastructure needed to run its 5G network.

Beijing had warned that PTS’ decision could have “consequences” for the Scandinavian country’s companies in China, prompting Swedish telecom giant and Huawei competitor Ericsson to worry about retaliation.

“We will continue to be available to have constructive dialogues with Swedish authorities to see if we can find pragmatic ways of taking care of security and at the same time keeping an open and fair market like Sweden has always been,” Fredriksen said.