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The Neutral Ally: The European Security and Defence Policy and the Swedish Constitution

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The Swedish defence policy has undergone a dramatic shift in recent years from focusing on defending Swedish territory to focusing on making the world a better place. The questions asked in this article relate to the Swedish constitutional regulation of the use of the Swedish armed forces and the potential impact of the European Security and Defence Policy on the interpretation of the Constitution. A fundamental revision of a policy central to the identity of the state has taken place, and the constitutional regulation as such stays intact. The old constitutional rules also function in the new defence policy environment, but new practice may entail a new interpretation. Different aspects of the change in defence policy will be weighed in relation to the existing Constitution. The Constitution sets limits to when Swedish armed forces may be sent abroad, but it also provides the opportunities. In a time of internationalisation and active use of military means to accomplish things around the world, the enabling aspect of the Constitution becomes important. The constitutional regulation accords the government and Parliament a lot of freedom, indeed unlimited freedom as long as they agree. Under the Constitution any coalition, context or cause is just.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Law, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden


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