Swedish PM’s top aide resigns over illegal eel fishing

One of Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson's top aides has resigned from his post after it emerged that he had been fined by police for illegally fishing for eels and had twice lied to the authorities about what happened.

Swedish PM's top aide resigns over illegal eel fishing
PM Nilsson talks at the Folk och Försvar defence conference in January 2022. Photo: Anders Wiklund /TT

PM Nilsson lied twice to police about eel fishing equipment he was caught with, the second time after he was appointed as state secretary at the end of October. 

After the resignation, Kristersson said he was disappointed that Nilsson, who had previously been a columnist for the Dagens Industri newspaper, had had to step down. 

“I think of course that it is unfortunate that this situation has come about, but I understand his decision,” he said in a written comment to the TT newswire. “PM Nilsson has been a highly appreciated member of the team and is a highly competent person. We are going to miss him.” 

READ ALSO: Why a political aide’s eel denial is causing friction in Sweden

Nilsson announced his decision on Facebook, saying that he had already apologised and paid the fines. 

“I understand how improper it is to fish for eels without a permit and to not tell things as they were to the authorities, even if I have since then rung the police and admitted that I had caught 15 fish,” he wrote in the post. 

Nilsson was recently fined for poaching eel in 2021, and has admitted to having lied to police in a conversation just before Christmas when he claimed that the eel-fishing equipment he had been caught with was not his. He later regretted this decision and informed the police.  

In his Facebook post, Nilsson referred to media reports that police were now investigating him for a further crime of contravening a law to protect endangered species, saying he did not know if this were the case. 

The opposition Social Democrats on Monday referred Ulf Kristersson to the parliament’s Committee on the Constitution, requiring him to explain the situation around Nilsson, and about whether Kristersson knew of the poaching incident when he appointed him, and also on the security vetting which took place. 

“We need to get clarity about how the process of recruiting him took place,” Ardalan Shekarabi, the party’s justice spokesman, said. “What we are chiefly reacting against is that the state secretary lied to the authorities.”

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Sweden’s parliament to end 200 years of non-alignment with Nato vote

Sweden's parliament is set to vote on Wednesday to end 200 years of neutrality by accepting Sweden's accession to the Nato defence alliance — although the country will not be able to join until parliaments in Turkey and Hungary ratify the agreement.

Sweden's parliament to end 200 years of non-alignment with Nato vote

The parliament began debating the bill at 9am on Wednesday and the vote is scheduled to take place in the afternoon, with a deadline of 4pm. 

“This is a historic but also a necessary decision to take,” Aron Emilsson, the Sweden Democrat chair of the parliament’s Committee on Defence, said at the start of the debate. “We are leaving 200 years of non-alignment behind us.” 

Six of the country’s eight parliamentary parties back joining the defence alliance, constituting an overwhelming majority of MPs. Only the Left Party and the Green Party are opposed. 

“Nothing will increase Sweden’s ability to defend itself faster than joining the defence alliance,” Emilsson said. 

MPs will vote on accepting Sweden’s accession to the alliance, and also that Sweden should sign up to the latest version of the North Atlantic Treaty which forms the legal basis of the alliance. 

Joining Nato will also require changes to two Swedish laws, the Military Operational Support Act, which governs military cooperation between Sweden and Finland, and the Immunities and Privileges Act, which governs diplomatic immunity. 

“The amendments to the law aim partly to make it easier for Sweden to request support from Nato in the form of military forces, and partly to give Nato, the national representatives and the international staff the immunity and privileges required under the agreement,” the parliament’s foreign affairs committee wrote when submitting the law to parliament.  

Sweden will not actually become a member until all 30 Nato member states have ratified its accession agreement, which so far only 28 have done, with Hungary and Turkey still holding out.

Hungary’s parliament is set to ratify Finland’s membership of Nato next Monday, Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference in Brussels on Tuesday, but not that of Sweden. 

The news came after Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last week instructed his parliament to approve Finland’s membership, while saying that a vote on Sweden’s would not take place until the country had extradited some of the people on Turkey’s list of wanted people living in Sweden. 

“There is no reason not to push ahead with both countries at the same time and that’s a message I have passed to the Hungarian foreign minister,” Sweden’s foreign minister Tobias Billström told TT after the news from Hungary. “Hungary has on repeated occasions over the past year said that they intend to ratify both Finland and Sweden.”