• Sweden's news in English

Foreign diplomats owe huge parking fine debt

The Local · 17 Aug 2012, 11:39

Published: 17 Aug 2012 11:39 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

“It is a sad state of affairs and it strikes back at the embassies in question when the problem gets this kind of attention,“ said Anders Jörle, spokesperson for the foreign ministry to daily Svenska Dagbladet.

According to SvD, the ministry receives information from the Swedish Transport Agency (Transportstyrelsen) as to how many embassies have unpaid parking tickets.

Up until July 1st, the tally was 579 unpaid tickets with both minor infractions such as failing to pay at the parking metre and flagrant parking offences where the vehicles have been left on cycle paths and at bus stops. The total amount of owed parking fines between January and June this year comes to 439,225 kronor.

According to SvD's investigation, the Russian embassy is responsible for the largest number of unpaid tickets. The second largest culprit is China, according to SvD.

It is up to the foreign ministry to contact the embassies when the ministry sees that they don’t adhere to Swedish law. But the ministry can’t make them pay the fines, as the diplomats all have immunity to Swedish law.

At Swedish embassies and consulates abroad, the policy is that laws of the host country should always be followed. If Swedish diplomats receive a ticket they will pay for the fine themselves, according to the paper.

Politicians in Stockholm’s City Hall think that something has to be done about the unpaid infractions.

“It seems that some embassies are doing this quite regularly. The municipalities need to get increased authority, to be able to clamp the vehicles or tow them away. It upsets me to hear about this,” said city councillor Per Ankersjö to SvD.

Story continues below…

The Local/rm


The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

12:04 August 17, 2012 by Abe L
Perhaps Stockholm should review their outrages parking fees and start working on more available and free parking solutions.
12:13 August 17, 2012 by Vitas
I am proud for Russia!!! We are the best!
12:30 August 17, 2012 by zhanna2
I'm not surprised that Russia made number one on the list.. We Russian people are business minded, if you know that you can get away without paying, why pay? However, I do admire Swedish people, they are usually very honest and not very good liars.
12:38 August 17, 2012 by Hisingen
This is not just a problem in Sweden. I think you will find that every country suffers from the same negligence, and the sums only get bigger with passing time.

Perhaps the UK habit of clamping should be extended to diplomatic vehicles also, whereby the fee had to be paid prior to removal of said clamp. Or even removal to a pound, from where a hefty fee has to be paid prior to release, no matter what the status of the vehicle.

Clearly the rules NEED to be changed, and the sooner the better for all concerned.
12:53 August 17, 2012 by Svensksmith
Good luck collecting.
13:28 August 17, 2012 by ZenMonk
The solution should be to review the rules on diplomatic immunity. As cuurently applied accross the world, it simply makes diplomats above the law while the host country can only hope that their diplomatic guests will show some self discipline and respect for their laws. Absolute immunity only perpetuates this kind of irresponsible behaviour. There should be a limit to the entent to which diplomats can enjoy immunity. Already, this is being applied in some instances like murder cases, but the fact that in such cases, it is the sending country that must lift the immunity of its diplomats for them to be prosecuted still poses limitations.
13:39 August 17, 2012 by Atlas
Maybe Carl Bildt should remove the diplomatic imunity of foreign embassies to get the fines paid...after all there is another country that has officially declared that diplomatic imunity can be revoked so that their laws can be applied...
13:52 August 17, 2012 by cogito
United Nations diplomats owe New York City $17.2 million in parking fines.

This is but a bagatelle in the U.N.'s colossal culture of corruption.
14:19 August 17, 2012 by Rey Stockholm
How can a car have diplomatic immunity - if no one in ot they should tow it away

They would only need to do it a couple of times for the problem to go away
14:31 August 17, 2012 by cheeba
They are immune. They should never have been given the tickets in the first place.
15:22 August 17, 2012 by skylarkpilot
I think Cheeba has it .... what's the point even issuing the tickets to diplomatic vehicles when you know they are immune from prosecution and unlikely to pay. Another job creation exercise, someone gets to send lots of letters asking for them to pay and after a suitable period some other person gets to put the paperwork through the shredder. Pointless work, but employing people...
20:33 August 17, 2012 by dizzymoe33
There should be no immunity when it comes to crimes being committed and breaking of the laws!!
22:36 August 17, 2012 by Parade
Cogito says it all. Parking around the U.N. in N.Y.C. is out of control. There are some diplomatic missions in N.Y.C. That owe hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. They're all politicians which is IMO by definition the epitomy of corruption and corrupt.
15:00 August 18, 2012 by viennacalling
I write this comment in Hope that all the Governments concerned immediately rectify the matter. The reason being, it, this very poor disipline, is all a Cost To The Poor Taxpayer of All Countries Involved. These So Called Leaders are So disrespectful to the Global Worldwide Poor Taxpayer who Pays More in Taxes than these pathetic examples to the Human Race !
19:20 August 18, 2012 by cheeba
I think the argument is somewhat similar to the one in the UK right now about whether diplomatic immunity should be curbed.

It always comes down to the fact that what sounds reasonable in a certain type of society will be abused in another one.

Just imagine the waves of arrests and parking tickets and storming of embassies that would be issued to Swedish diplomats in Minsk or Quito if the immunity standards were not kept as strict as possible, there is the problem.
07:15 August 19, 2012 by eurobloke
@Hisingen It isn't just parking fines, in London you only need to look at the amount of money diplomats don't pay in congestion charge (trängselskatt). I think Grosvenor Square (the American embassy) have a bill of about 5M pounds (~ 50M kronor) in unpaid charges!
12:08 August 20, 2012 by DAVID T
Good luck to them - The parking fines in Sweden are outrageous - it's just a money making scam - The cost of parking in Stockholm is criminal and it's not like the public transport is brilliant either. I live in the suburbs and these q-park people just hang around the streets like vultures waiting for you to go over 1 minute on the ticket. I got a ticket on Easter Sunday - the ticket machine didn't accept credit cards and I put in all the cash I had but it wasn't enough for the time I needed - all the shops where closed so of course I got a ticket - makes my blood boil
12:12 August 20, 2012 by robban70226
Publih the Country and amounts like they do in other countries, Maybe that will be an incentive to pay, nothing like good advertizing and a little egg in their face..
15:14 August 22, 2012 by tadchem
Diplomatic immunity is supposed to protect the interests of the host government and the visiting diplomat by allowing diplomatic business to proceed without serious complications.

Parking violations do not complicate diplomatic relations, but rude behaviour by diplomats can cause problems.

Make the chauffeurs responsible for the parking fines and for recovering the vehicles that have to be towed away because the flagrant parking violations have endangered public safety.

If the 'diplomat' is not important enough to have a chauffeur, he isn't important enough for 'diplomatic immunity' to apply to him personally.

Guests should be polite and not presumptive upon the hosts' hospitality.
Today's headlines
Sweden can extend border controls, EU says
A police officer carrying out a check at Sweden's border with Denmark. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

EU countries including Sweden should be granted permission to extend temporary border controls by a period of a further three months, the European Commission has decided.

Nobel Prizes
'I'd say he's arrogant but I'd be lying': Swedes on Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performing in France. Photo: David Vincent/AP

Almost two weeks have passed since Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and he has yet to acknowledge the win. The Local asked Swedes what they think of the singer's silence.

Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast by thousands
A Swedish migration authority office in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The country has also slashed its prediction for 2017.

Swedish researchers plan new trucks for women drivers
File photo of trucks in Sweden. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Could vehicles adapted for women attract more female truckers to the profession?

These stats show Swedish driving isn't so gender equal
File photo of a Swedish woman driving a car. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A new survey shows that few Swedish women get behind the wheel when driving with their male partner.

Revealed: Game of Thrones could be coming to Sweden
Game of Thrones cast members at the Emmy Awards in September. Photo: Jordan Strauss/AP

The producers of the hit show have asked for three rounds of location pictures of Swedish island Gotland.

Prime Minister to meet Swedish troops in Iraq
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his Kurdish counterpart Nechervan Barzani. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Löfven is set to meet Swedish troops in Iraq on Tuesday.

Swedish politicians wage war on winter time
Soon it will look like this on your way home from work in Sweden. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Should Sweden stick with summer time all year round?

'Don't turn the Pope into a global teddy bear'
Sweden's Queen Silvia and Princess Leonore visiting Pope Francis in the Vatican last year. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

It's time to hold the Pope to account and make sure he turns his words about reform into action, argues a minister of the Swedish Church ahead of Pope Francis' visit to Sweden.

Löfven: 'Sweden will double its number of troops in Iraq'
Stefan Löfven and Haider al-Abadi during the visit on Monday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised to double his country's number of troops in Iraq following a meeting with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi on Monday.

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available