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The strange “statistic” announced by Sweden’s right-wing government

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Swedish Finance Minister Elisabeth Svantesson, Brussels, Jan. 17, 2023 (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

Many scholars say its real goal is to identify undocumented immigrants or citizens of foreign origin

The right-wing and far-right coalition that has been ruling Sweden since last October is trying to do just that organize What he called a “new national census” because, as Finance Minister Elisabeth Svantesson and far-right party leader Jamie Okeson explained on March 30, the country “no longer controls its population” due to the “irresponsible immigration policy” of the previous governments.

As many Swedish newspapers and statisticians have pointed out, what is announced will not be a census of the population, but a measure with repressive intent: the hidden goal is to track down immigrants who are not registered in the country.

In the parliamentary elections that took place in Sweden in September 2022 The second most voted party Such was the formation of the Sweden Democrats, an extreme right-wing formation directly descended from neo-Nazi groups. Currently, the Swedish government, led by Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson of the Moderate Party, consists of a coalition of center-right parties, which, in order to govern, need external and decisive support from the Sweden Democrats, who have significant influence on the executive branch.

During the election campaign, the Sweden Democrats built much of their consensus by promising very tough policies on immigration and crime, often drawing a link between these two elements (a link that has never been substantiated by studies and analyzes on the two phenomena).

They proposed, among other things, to organize systematic police operations that should have taken place at dawn in some “at-risk” neighbourhoods, to try to find people present in the area without a valid residence permit and act accordingly, i.e. expel them. For years, Sweden’s democrats believed the country’s official population figures were incorrect. According to them, 100,000 people reside in Sweden without a residence permit, but these numbers have not been confirmed by the police or the Immigration Office. However, the census issue was factored into the coalition deal reached shortly after the 2022 election results between the Sweden Democrats and Prime Minister Kristerserson’s right-wing Moderates party. Now the government has decided to follow through on that promise.

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On 30 March, during a press conference, Conservative Finance Minister Elisabeth Svantesson and the leader of the Sweden Democrats, Jamie Okesson, announced what they called a “census”, saying that to carry it out, the government would give 500 million kronor. (equivalent to about 44 million euros) for the Revenue Agency. they have to explain The existing population records will be reorganized, improved and updated. They also said the agency would have to identify “risk” areas to conduct targeted checks, and made clear that the agency itself would be given greater powers to conduct extensive checks of people’s identities. Further, the various authorities in the country who should be aware of persons who are not duly registered, will have an obligation to report this to the Revenue Agency.

Svantisson and Akesson, presenting their project, asserted that “Sweden has largely lost control of its population due to an irresponsible immigration policy” which, according to Akesson, would have created a “shadow society” whose powers “do not know to what extent”. A few days ago, the chairman of the Parliament’s Justice Committee, Richard Gumshof, the historic leader of the Swedish Democrats and a big supporter of the “ethnic replacement” theory, in turn wrote on Twitter that “Swedes are about to become a minority in their country.”

For Stockholm University demographer Gunnar Andersson, the fact that “the hunt for illegal immigrants” is one of the stated goals of the so-called “census” shows that in reality the census will not be carried out: “It is not a matter of counting the population, but of a repressive measure, to find on those who should not be in Sweden and deport them.”

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Anders Lindberg, newspaper columnist Aftonbladet, near left of center, in turn made it very clear that what was declared would not be an enumeration. However, according to him, through this process, the government will not be able to obtain a map of the irregular presence in the area.

He says Sweden’s population records and statistics are “among the best in the world”. In fact, Sweden is a country that has effective system population.

From 1631, the Evangelical Lutheran Church began keeping detailed parish records and in 1749, the tableverket Sweden was the first official statistical institute in the world. Since 1947, every person residing in Sweden has owned a person number, a personal identification number similar to the tax code, issued by the Revenue Agency. Without these numbers, it is impossible to open a bank account or even just sign up for a phone. By cross-referencing this figure with population records that are updated periodically (the last time two years ago), a detailed picture of a country’s population can then be retrieved in just a few seconds.

According to the Swedish Tax Agency itself, the information in these population registers is approximately 98 percent correct.

For Lindberg, it is less likely that the government will identify people who have deliberately chosen not to appear on records with this new process and will therefore remain invisible. Therefore, the government will not be able to do what it announced: the goal, according to its opinion, is another goal. What will happen is that “checks will be carried out in many vulnerable suburbs” and that Swedes of foreign origin will end up at the heart of the question: “Not because they do not have the right to be here, but because the Swedish democrats want to confirm that they do not belong in this Place “. Therefore a “statistic” would have nothing to do with a statistical issue, but rather a “political label”. He will work to reaffirm “who the real” people are.

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