Swedish politicians reject corruption rules

Sweden's parliamentary parties have no wish to see universal regulations to govern complimentary trips and hospitality, despite recent focus on the issue of corruption.

Swedish politicians reject corruption rules
Photo: Maja Suslin/Scanpix; Centerpartiet/Flickr (file)

“I am surprised at their position,” said Professor Claes Sandgren, chair of the Swedish Institute Against Bribes (Institute Mot Mutor – IMM), to the TT news agency.

There has been considerable focus over the past week on the issue of what politicians can and can not accept in the form of gifts, following revelations that Moderate Party secretary Sofia Arkelsten had accepted paid trips and Social Democrat leader Mona Sahlin had received complimentary tickets to the Stockholm Open tennis tournament.

In response to the attention, experts have called for universal regulations to clarify the issue.

Parliamentary party group leaders met on Wednesday to discuss the issue at an informal meeting, newspaper Svenska Dagbladet reported.

A telephone survey of group leaders shows that the parties are not interested in a set of fixed universal regulations.

“I would be in favour of clear regulations if it would solve the problems so that it would be crystal clear when one should travel and when one should not. A set of regulations would never be able to that,” said Sven-Erik Österberg of the Social Democrats to TT.

The Moderate Party also expressed scepticism.

“I am not always sure that you can formulate the perfect draft which can foresee every situation. On the other hand we risk that the limits are set so strictly that we shut out contacts and possibilities to learn and understand the world around us,” Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt told Sveriges Radio’s Ekot news programme.

However, Left Party parliamentary group leader Hans Linde is open to the development of a universal policy and Sandgren agreed that while not perfect, clearer universal regulations could provide more clarity.

“Universal guidelines can never be exhaustive and very accurate, but they go some way,” he said.

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