Sweden: Local Politicians Lobby for More Alcohol Licenses
A new survey in Sweden has found that local politicians lobby for the authorization of more alcohol licenses in their respective jurisdictions.
Over one in three alcohol administrators say they have been subjected to attempts by influences from politicians or other officials, according to P1 Program Kaliber’s survey as reported by Radio Sweden. More than half the country’s 300 alcohol administrators took part in the survey. About half of these officers believe politicians let business interests go before the alcohol law and public health and safety interests.
Politicians push for licenses and hope for “flexibility” in the law as it is supposedly “good for business.”
However, the Swedish Alcohol Act is a public health protection law. It takes precedence over any potential economic interests in a municipality. That is, the decision-making process about alcohol licenses in a municipality should not weigh in potential benefits for the private sector if a business is allowed to serve alcohol.
Kaliber’s survey also shows that every third alcohol administrator has been subjected to threats and violence in their work as well as to pressure from within the municipal government of both politicians and civil servants.
Thomas Fehrm, president of the municipal alcohol administrators’ association says it is unacceptable that this many politicians attempt to influence their work. He wants investigations and supervisory responsibilities to be located at the county boards instead of on municipal level – in order for the decisions about alcohol licenses to be further removed from local interests and to be more legally safe with uniform assessments and to reduce the risk of threats, violence and political interference.