The Segerstedt Institute at the University of Gothenburg has prepared a report on the development of right-wing extremism in the Nordic Region from 1918 to the present day. The report titled When neo-Nazis march on Norwegian streets, you hear a lot of Swedish is the first comprehensive study to examine right-wing extremism within a Nordic context and has been funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers.
The report offers several proposals for how right-wing extremism can be tackled from a Nordic perspective.
Increased police co-operation
Among other proposals, the report suggests that the Nordic police authorities establish a special unit responsible for sharing information about right-wing extremist groups, co-operate on solving crimes, and share experiences on how to handle right-wing extremist activists at, for example, demonstrations.
The report also suggests increased co-operation between the Nordic municipalities experiencing major issues with right-wing extremism.
In addition, the report highlights the importance of investing in preventive measures online aimed at adults and the elderly. Today, the few online preventative initiatives that already exist are primarily aimed at young people, but research shows that most of those radicalised within right-wing extreme environments are aged 30 and over.
The report also calls for a Nordic forum for exit strategies, i.e. efforts to encourage radicalised people to let go of their extreme right-wing ideology.
Few initiatives against right-wing extremism
The study shows that very few of the initiatives to prevent radicalisation that exist right now have a specific focus on right-wing extremism. The focus of current measures is predominantly on militant Islamism.
It’s also something that Karen Ellemann, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, is committed to.
“It’s remarkable that many of the current initiatives to prevent extremism don’t have a specific focus on right-wing extremism and are mainly aimed at young people. We must therefore ask ourselves, as the study itself does, whether we’re really aiming in the right direction with our current preventative initiatives,” says Ellemann.
Important area for the Nordic Council of Ministers
Ellemann is adamant that this is an important area for the Nordic Council of Ministers, not least in efforts relating to Vision 2030 and especially the area which deals with creating a socially sustainable Nordic Region.
“The Nordic Council of Ministers will continue to support the exchange of knowledge in this area, and we must be at the forefront when it comes to developing new platforms and facilitating initiatives and practices that can prevent and combat right-wing extremism,” says Ellemann.