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Birgitta Ohlsson (photo by Roland Karlsson)

Last week Birgitta Ohlsson Klamberg was nominated as Sweden’s new Minister for EU Affairs, stepping into the shoes of Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner-designate for Home Affairs. The Lobby takes a closer look at Mrs Ohlsson, who could potentially prove to be Sweden’s EU Commissioner in 2014.

She’s young – born 1975 – and she’s very vocal on a range of issues. According to her blog, topics close to her heart include feminism, democracy, tolerance, solidarity, and animal protection. Yet she is also controversial, and her nomination certainly raised a few eyebrows in Stockholm.

Ohlsson is known to refuse to tow the party line and raise views which stand in stark contrast to her party, the ruling Alliance for Sweden. For instance, she wants to abolish the Swedish monarchy, and whilst the monarchy itself might not be much loved in Sweden, the Royal Family certainly is!

In a recent interview with Dagens Nyheter she stated she wants to address the Roma issue, the sale and trafficking of women in European capitals, and that she is keen to see more green solutions in the EU. Her blog further states she is keen to see Sweden’s development budget be at least 1% of Sweden’s GNI, and she is in favour of joining the Euro, full Swedish NATO membership, and is an outspoken opponent of an Orwellian surveillance society.

She will also have a baby in July, something which, sadly in this day and age, has been pointed out as possibly being an obstacle for her in terms of carrying out her duties as Minister. To this Ohlsson replied, in a rather Swedish fashion on her blog:

“I am married to a modern man, not a dinosaur. I have parents, friends and a large network of wonderful people who will support me rain or shine…unfortunately maybe we still live in the 1950s and not in 2010”

The Lobby can definitely relate to being young, vocal, dynamic and modern – so we see no real issues here. Rather, this young Minister could very well be what the relatively traditional and conservative Alliance For Sweden needs.

– Emil

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Swedish EU Presidency logo

Swedish EU Presidency logo

Swedish Minister for EU Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, and Cabinet Secretary, Frank Belfrage, yesterday met with the diplomatic corps based in Stockholm. The aim of the meeting was to brief foreign top diplomats on the upcoming Swedish EU Presidency.

Naturally the uncertainty surrounding the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty poses a major challenge for the Swedes. However, during the briefing it was made clear that Sweden will push on as if the Treaty will be ratified under the Swedish Presidency. When (if?) ratified, the Treaty will effectively trigger a host of institutional changes that Sweden will have to begin implementing.

During the meeting several participants asked what, if any, special dimension Sweden would bring to the fore during its Presidency; Malmström answered that the Presidency is aiming for a focus on openness and accessibility, in line with the new Swedish Presidency website. The website is apparently going to be more generous when it comes to sharing information compared to previous Presidency websites.

For the Brussels press corps (and consultants alike!) this sounds like a gift from heaven…or ‘jättebra’ as the Swedes would say.

– Emil

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