“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.