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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.
As already mentioned by The Lobby in June (see Pirates could secure two seats in new European Parliament) the Swedish Pirate Party has secured another seat in the European Parliament following the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.
Amelia Andersdotter, 22, is on her way to Brussels, thanks to the Lisbon Treaty, perhaps ironically, a Treaty she is personally not in favour of. But as she says herself in an interview with Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, “if it now has to enter into force, it’s good that the Pirate Party gains another seat…[as] two people can perform double the amount of work” (free translation).
She effectively becomes the European Parliament’s youngest MEP.
Well done, say we at The Lobby!
Yesterday’s opinion piece by Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Finance Minister Anders Borg in the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, citing the Lisbon Strategy as a failure, lent an unexpected favour to the long running plan of economic reforms aiming to make the EU “the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world”. In the hustle and bustle of the lead-up to the European elections, the incoming Presidency points to the lackadaisical performance on the part of Member States in meeting the goals set back in March 2000. Reinfeldt and Borg call for sustainable public finances and the Lisbon Strategy to be restarted.
In these hard times of economic meltdown, calls to re-focus and re-boost the Lisbon Strategy go down well. However, this time around, the commitment lies not on the part of the European Commission, but on the leadership in the Council. Is this a subtle indication that it is time to re-balance environmental priorities with economic ones? There is room for interpretation…