The composition of the new Swedish government was revealed this week and the opposition’s reaction was scathing: the new executive, led by the conservative Ulf Kristersson of the Moderate Party, was described as “devastating”. First of all, because the Ministry of the Environment as an autonomous body was extinguished: despite the appointment of a minister of the Environment – Romina Pourmokhtari, from the liberals, 26 years old – the ruler will work under the auspices of the Ministry of Energy, Business and Industry, led by Ebba Busch of the Christian Democrats.
“It is impossible to describe more clearly how little this government values the environment and the climate. This is a historic decision with devastating consequences for environmental issues”, lamented Per Bolund, the leader of the Greens, quoted by Euronews, stressing that it is the first time in 35 years that Sweden will not have a Ministry of the Environment.
Despite the demise of the ministry, the new government’s program, which was unveiled last week, lists the environment as one of seven priority areas, even though most initiatives are related to the energy crisis. The new government is committed to complying with the goals of the Paris Agreement and allocates 36 billion euros for the construction of new nuclear plants, also providing for the introduction of stricter rules for the closure of nuclear plants – the government proposes even analyzing whether it is feasible to reopen two plants in the south of the country that have stopped working in recent years.
Pär Holmgren, MEP for the Greens, says he even expects “huge cuts in green funds that will have a devastating impact on the climate policies that we Greens have worked so hard to put in place”.
End of feminist foreign policy
In terms of foreign policy, the big change of the new Swedish government was to end the so-called “feminist foreign policy”. The new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tobias Billstrom, guaranteed that the executive will always fight for gender equality, but defended that the “label” had become more important than the content.
“Gender equality is a fundamental value for Sweden and for this government, but we will not conduct a feminist foreign policy,” Billstrom said, quoted by the BBC. “Because labels have a tendency to become more important than content,” stressed.
This policy had been established in 2014 by the then left-wing government, through the action of the Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time, Margot Wallstrom, who made Sweden the first country in the world to take gender equality into account in its relationship with other nations. Over the years, this policy has even earned Stockholm some diplomatic clashes: in 2015, Wallstrom commented on Saudi Arabia’s lack of women’s rights, prompting Riyadh to withdraw its ambassador from Sweden.
The Saudis later censored a speech by the former Swedish foreign minister at the Arab League, in which the ruler referred to the “fundamental rights” of women, considering the intervention “offensive” and “interference” in domestic affairs. Sweden and Saudi Arabia would also end a Defense Agreement for arms exports from Stockholm to Riyadh. Trade had lasted about a decade.
The BBC also recalls that, in 2017 and 2018, when Sweden passed the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member, it worked to include a recommendation that made gender-based violence or sexual violence a reason for sanctions, encouraging activists for the rights of women. women from Somalia and Nigeria speaking at the Security Council.
Stockholm claims, following this passage through the UN Security Council, that it contributed to the introduction of new legislation on these matters in about 20 countries.
Coalition with far-right support
The new Swedish government, which was unveiled this week, was announced after the leader of the Conservatives, Ulf Kristersson, reached an agreement with two smaller parties, the Christian Democrats and the Liberals, to bring to power a minority coalition that will have support. of the extreme right in parliament.
The Social Democratic Party of Sweden was the most voted in the 9/11 elections, soon followed by the nationalist anti-immigration Democrats of Sweden, which precipitated the resignation of Social Democrat Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.
The parties on the left are still looking for a coalition, but it was the right-wing formations that ended up understanding each other, even though the extreme right was left out of the governing coalition, even though it was the second most voted party by voters.
The minority coalition that now takes office joins Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson’s Moderates with Christian Democrats and Liberals. Sweden’s Democrats, although not in government, agreed to support the ruling coalition whenever a majority in parliament is needed, in exchange for political compromises, namely on crime and immigration.
Source: With Agencies