Sweden keeps secret party donations despite EU criticism

Sweden keeps secret party donations despite EU criticism
Sweden's justice minister Beatrice Ask
Despite strong criticism from the Council of Europe the Swedish government does not plan to outlaw anonymous donations to political parties, the justice minister Beatrice Ask told Sveriges Radio's Ekot news programme on Wednesday.

“We have on several occasions explained how the Swedish system is constructed, and so far it has worked fairly well,” Beatrice Ask told Ekot.

Sweden is one of a handful of European countries where political parties can accept economic support without accounting for its origin. The practice has been criticized by the Council of Europe’s corruption unit, which has recommended that Sweden increase transparency.

Within the current system in Sweden there exists a voluntary arrangement between the political parties where they declare the size and number of donations, but not the identity of the donor.

The system has its critics in Sweden with some arguing that the lack of transparency risks damaging public faith in the political system.

The government argues that as private donations only make up a small part of the pot – the majority of party funding is provided by the state system – it does not need changing.

“It must be okay for me to donate money to a political party without declaring it. There is no one demanding that we publish our member lists, that would be odd,” Ask told Ekot.

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