For members


Sweden’s new laws to watch out for in 2018

A new year in Sweden means new and changed laws. Here are some noteworthy ones to watch out for, ranging from crime, to cars, drones, the internet and even sunbeds.

Sweden's new laws to watch out for in 2018
A new subsidy for electric bikes is one of the changes. Photo: Lars Pehrson/SvD/TT

This article is available to Members of The Local. Read more Membership Exclusives here.

Drones, bikes and automobiles

From February a new subsidy for certain electric vehicle purchases will kick in, meaning up to 25 percent of the purchase price of electric bikes or electric motorcycles could be covered – with a cap of 10,000 kronor.

READ ALSO: Stockholm to get new high-tech electric bikes

Drivers of traditional vehicles should be aware however that tax on fuel will increase, with petrol becoming 30 öre more expensive per litre, and diesel 27 öre per litre more expensive. The current Social Democrat-Green government has since 2015 had a yearly tax increase on fuel in place, corresponding to two percent above inflation.

Speaking of cars, as of February it will finally be illegal in Sweden to use a mobile telephone without a hands free device while driving, which unlike many European nations was previously not the case.

Looking to the skies, Sweden's struggle to get to grips with drones will take a new turn in February, when it will no longer be necessary to obtain a permit to fly light drones – likely a sigh of relief for those who make their living using the devices. The country's clumsy handling of the devices, treating them as a form of surveillance, has made it difficult to use them for filming, inspecting buildings, or taking professional photographs.

At the same time, to make life easier for aircraft pilots who have experienced drones interrupting air traffic in recent years, light drones will only be allowed to fly at a maximum height of 120 metres above the ground.

READ ALSO: Drone halts traffic at Stockholm's Arlanda airport

Good news, drone owners. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

New privacy and stricter harassment laws

Starting 2018, the new crime of olaga integritetsintrång  – illegal violation of privacy – will exist in Sweden. Break it by spreading sensitive images and information like for example naked pictures or so-called revenge porn, and you could be punished with a fine or up to four years in prison for the worst breaches.

Other examples of potential breaches include spreading images of someone in a particularly vulnerable situation like from the scene of an accident.

In further changes, the crime of harassment is to be expanded to include repeated unwanted contact through telephone, e-mail or SMS. Courts will take a position on how persistent the contact was, whether it was offensive or threatening, and what it led to for the person on the receiving end (loss of sleep, stress and so forth).

A new privacy law will soon enter into force. Photo: Isabell Höjman

The internet and social media

As of 2018 Swedish websites can legally be asked to remove messages that clearly contain illegal threats or illegal violations of privacy.

At the other end of the spectrum, and pending approval by the Riksdag, a new law will begin meaning a person aged 13 can give consent for their data to be used by social media companies. If approved, it will kick in as of May.

Social media use will also be impacted by new laws. Timur Emek/AP

Accessibility and energy assistance

In what hopefully should result in positive developments for disabled people in Sweden, from May there will be a legal requirement to improve accessibility at public-facing businesses like hairdressers, cafes and restaurants.

And for anyone looking to reduce their carbon footprint, from January 1st the subsidy for installing solar cells for individuals will increase from 20 to 30 percent of the cost.

New laws should improve wheelchair access. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB Scanpix

Harsher penalties, from weapons to alcohol

The punishment for aggravated weapons crimes is set to increase in Sweden in 2018 to a minimum of two years in prison.

READ ALSO: Government plans amnesty to get weapons off Sweden's streets

Laws protecting children are also due to be tightened to mean that proposing meeting a child in a sexual context will be punishable regardless of the details of the meeting.

The fine for bringing alcohol into Sweden without paying tax on it will increase to 40 percent of the tax payable as of 2018.

Illegally importing alcohol will mean a heavier fine. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Changing age limits and schooling laws

Sweden is getting stricter on the use of solariums and sunbeds, setting a minimum age of 18 for anyone who wants to use them, starting from September.

And from the autumn term, 2018, it will be compulsory for children to attend pre-school at the age of six – at present attending pre-school is voluntary.

An age restriction will soon be in place in solariums. Photo: Heiko Junge/NTB Scanpix