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SECURITY

Swedes most worried about organized crime

Sweden's defence and security elite gathers for three days of debating, dining and skiing amid reports that a majority of Swedes believe organized crime is the biggest security threat.

Swedes most worried about organized crime

The conference in the popular winter resort Sälen is organized annually by Society and Defence (Folk och Försvar), an umbrella organization that aims to stimulate public debate about defence and security policy.

Sweden’s Prince Daniel is attending the 2013 conference and among the speakers are the commander in chief of Sweden’s Armed Forces, Sverker Göranson; Defence Minister Karin Enström; EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmström; Nato General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen; National Police Commissioner, Bengt Svensson; and Swedish Security (Säpo) chief, Anders Thornberg.

As the conference participants gathered in Sälen, a report from the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (Myndigheten för samhällsskydd och beredskap) showed that a majority of Swedes see international organized crime as the top security threat to the country.

Three out of four respondents said that they are quite worried or very worried about organized crime.

Seventy-three percent said they are most worried about relations between the Muslim and Christian world, while two out of three respondents cited depletion of the Earth’s resources as their top concern.

The past year’s events in the Middle East and an influx of refugees are two other issues that concern Swedes, cited by 65 and 56 percent of respondents respectively.

Extremism in Sweden and Europe dominate debates on the first day of the 2013 Society and Defence conference.

The agenda of the second day is mostly taken up by discussion about Nato and Sweden, as well as the hotly debated issue of Sweden’s defence capabilities, which security experts have said are flailing.

The theme for the third and final day is crisis management and how to prepare for natural disasters, with one panel discussion dedicated to lessons learnt from Hurricane Sandy on the US East Coast.

Society and Defence’s annual national conference attracts around 300 participants and 40 speakers for three days of lectures and debates as well social events and skiing.

The participants are representatives from trade and industry, political parties, government authorities, youth organizations and various NGOs.

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SECURITY

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.

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