Sweden's crisis agency calls for return of ‘civil conscription’

TT/The Local
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Sweden's crisis agency calls for return of ‘civil conscription’
A helicopter from Sweden's rescue services during Storm Malik in January. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Sweden’s Civil Contingencies Agency has called on the government to reactivate the country's “civil conscription”, which allows Swedish citizens between 16 and 65 years old to be given “war placements” in critical services.


“We believe that it’s possible to take such a decision rapidly so that we have enough people ready if the absolute worst were to happen,” Camilla Asp, the agency’s operations director, told state broadcaster SR.

While Sweden has never removed Swedish residents' duty to do any role the government required of them in the case of a war or crisis, the system of civil conscription, or civilplikten, has been dormant since 2010.

Under the system, citizens are given roles in critical functions of society, such as the rescue services, healthcare, and childcare, and commit to leaving their every day work and switching function in the event of a crisis. 

Every party in parliament except the Social Democrats told SR on Tuesday that they supported bringing back the system. 

"The government has acted slowly when it comes to the development of civil defence, so now its crucial that every part of civil defence is brought back into place, seen in the light of the considerably worsened security situation," said Pål Jonson, from the Moderate Party. 

Justice Minister Morgan Johansson told SR that he would wait until the Civil Contingencies Agency publishes its full assessment of how Sweden's civil defence needs to be improved on April 29th.


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