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Sweden Country Report

Country Risk Level



Executive Summary

The government of Sweden on 16 March launched a rescue package worth just under USD31 billion to support the economy amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus outbreak. Measures include the state assuming most of the cost for furloughed workers and the entire cost for sick leave in the private sector through April and May. Companies will also be allowed to defer tax payments for a year. Sweden has taken a comparatively soft stance in combating the pandemic and has not introduced tough restrictions on movement, allowing primary schools, restaurants and pubs to remain open. Despite this, the economy is expected to contract by 6% of GDP in 2020. Sweden has seen an increase in gang-related shootings and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in recent years. The violence has been fuelled by increased competition over the narcotics trade. In 2019, some 257 bomb attacks were reported by police, a 60% year-on-year increase. Between January and April 2020 there was also an increase in the number of shootouts compared to the same period last year, confirming a growing trend of recklessness by criminal gangs operating in Sweden.

Operational Outlook

Sweden has one of the world's most internationally integrated economies and welcomes foreign investment regardless of which government holds office. The transport and communications infrastructure are of the highest quality. From an international perspective, unit labour costs are comparatively high and labour laws are very protective of workers' rights. However, workers are well-educated and relations between employers and trade unions are generally accommodative. Sweden's integration in global value chains renders it especially vulnerable to an economic downturn as a result of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) virus pandemic.


On 7 April 2017, a hijacked truck was driven into crowds in central Stockholm, killing four and injuring 15 people. The terrorist attack highlights the continued risk of Islamic State-inspired vehicle-impact attacks. However, the risk of more complex and co-ordinated attacks similar to the November 2015 attacks in Paris is lower than in other Western European countries such as France or the United Kingdom, which are of greater strategic and symbolic significance.



Organised criminal activity is concentrated in Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö. Malmö is a particular hotspot because of its location in southern Sweden, across the Öresund Bridge from the Danish capital, making it a node in arms and drug trafficking routes from continental Europe to Scandinavia. There has been a significant increase in the number of shootouts and IED attacks in all three cities in recent years, indicating growing recklessness of criminal gangs operating in Sweden.

War Risks

Sweden recently reintroduced military service and stationed troops on Gotland, the largest island on the Baltic Sea, for the first time in a decade. These measures reflect the deteriorating security situation in the Baltic region, which follows growing Russian military assertiveness since 2014. War risks remain low, but there is a heightened risk of unintended escalation due to Russian aerial and maritime incursions into Swedish territory. Although Swedish membership in NATO remains unlikely in the one-year outlook, the situation could change if Finland, Sweden's historical ally, takes concrete steps towards accession.

Social Stability

In August 2018, up to 200 vehicles were set ablaze by youth in the outskirts of Uppsala, Gothenburg, and other cities in western Sweden. The incident was reminiscent of the week-long riots in Stockholm and other cities in May 2013 and February 2017, and demonstrates the potential for unrest among disaffected youth. Triggers for renewed rioting would be instances of police brutality. The suburbs of Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö are most at risk. There is also a risk of violence in connection with neo-Nazi and anti-Nazi demonstrations across the country.

Health Risk


Vaccinations required to enter the country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Routine Vaccinations

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Tick-Borne Encephalitis: For stays in rural zones and for hiking enthusiasts (for children over the age of one).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Natural Risks

Following the weather conditions in case of travelling is essential.


Potential visitors should take note of a few useful points prior to departure: vehicles are required to be fitted with snow tires from November 1 until April 30. The Swedish motorway is in excellent state.

The driving is on the right side of the road. Due to the important number of accidents linked to wild animals, it is advised to be very careful when driving outside of cities. There is no tolerance towards driving under the influence of alcohol. Drivers are charged a toll when entering or leaving Stockholm between 06:30 and 18:30 from Monday to Friday. An efficient ferry services operate between Sweden and neighboring countries on the Baltic Sea.

It should be noted that public transit systems are reliable and punctual. Modern trains offer travel throughout the country. In this calm country, social movement (e.g. a trade union strike that took place in June 2014 disrupting rail travel within Sweden and between Sweden and Denmark) or inevitable weather conditions during winter could impact on the travelers' comfort. Air and rail traffic often suffer from disruptions during the winter.

Taking a taxi, especially independent taxis or small companies, can be very expensive. It is advised to check the posted prices before leaving, as they can be exorbitant for numerous foreign travelers.

Practical Information


Despite its very northerly geographic position, Sweden enjoys a relatively temperate climate which varies by region. Summers can be very hot but become shorter and shorter as you head north. Winters can be very cold, particularly in the north. North of the Arctic Circle daylight is almost constant between mid-May and mid-June.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +46
Police: 112
Fire Dept.: 112
Ambulance: 112


Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz


Risk Level
Critical High Medium Low Minimal