• Sweden edition
Bildt presents foreign policy in Riksdag

Bildt presents foreign policy in Riksdag

Published: 13 Feb 2008 14:18 GMT+01:00
Updated: 13 Feb 2008 14:18 GMT+01:00

“It is only through well-functioning multilateralism that many of the greatest problems of our times can be solved,” said Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt.

In his annual foreign policy statement to the Riksdag, Bildt first stressed the importance of the EU to Sweden's foreign policy, saying Sweden planned to take a “proactive role” to ensure the EU becomes a strong global actor.

“We want to work to ensure that the European Union is well-equipped through a broad and effective foreign policy to meet the global challenges facing Europe and the world,” he said.

Bildt’s comments were followed by a presentation from the opposition by Social Democrat MP Urban Ahlin, vice chair of the Riksdag's foreign affairs committee.

He called on Sweden to take a more active role in working against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

“The goal for us is a world free of nuclear weapons,” said Ahlin.

“We now have a historic opportunity for receptivity to nuclear disarmament—if only we take the chance. Unfortunately, the conservative government has so far not taken advantage of this opportunity,” he said.

Ahlin also criticized the Foreign Minister for playing down the Olso Process to ban cluster bombs, and called on the government to carry out a Riksdag decision from the spring of 2007 to work toward the ban.

In his wide ranging speech, Bildt stressed traditional Swedish foreign policy themes such as development assistance, global climate policy, and the importance of free trade, which he called a “fundamental component” of Sweden’s foreign policy.

“The development of trade is an important driving force for good globalization,” said Bildt, emphasizing that Sweden will continue working to increase free trade.

Bildt expressed his desire to see both Ukraine and Russia join the WTO, asserting that increased economic ties will contribute to a closer relationship between Sweden and both countries.

However, he voiced concern about Russia's authoritarian drift in recent years.

Turning to the EU, Bildt stated that Sweden will continue be a strong advocate for continued enlargement.

He expressed Swedish support for eventual Turkish membership, and hopes that the EU will “keep the door open” for Serbian candidacy.

Bildt acknowledged, however, that the current situation regarding the status of Kosovo was “untenable” and that the Swedish government planned to issue a position on its future relations with Kosovo sometime soon.

Looking ahead to Sweden’s presidency of the EU, Bildt hoped to conclude EU membership negotiations with Croatia in the second half of 2009.

In addition, Bildt stressed the importance of advances in global climate policy to the success of Sweden’s EU presidency.

Specifically, he expects Sweden to play a lead roll in formulating a post-Kyoto agreement by the end of 2009.

Global terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction remain “threats to world stability,” said Bildt, once again stressing the importance of international cooperation through the EU and the United Nations.

The foreign minister cited Sweden's participation in a joint UN-EU peace keeping operation in Chad, calling the mission “an expression of our conviction that Sweden and Europe cannot stand by passively watching crises” where communities are split apart, rights are violated, and people are killed.

In order to bolster Sweden's capacity for overseas operations, the government plans to increase the budget for international peace operations from 1.5 billion kronor to 3.0 billion kronor.

On the Middle East, Bildt mentioned Sweden’s concern about Iran, but pledged continued support for improvements in Iraq.

Sweden also supports the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians leading to a two-state solution and is “prepared to contribute to such a peace process in various ways.”

The Foreign Minister voiced unease about developments in Afghanistan, but hoped Sweden could strengthen its role following the planned opening of an embassy in Kabul later this year.

Sweden will also upgrade its representation in Belarus to a full-fledged embassy in the hopes of strengthening respect for democracy and human rights in the former Soviet republic.

Bildt also stressed the importance of Sweden’s relationships with the United States and NATO, but went on to say that “Sweden is not part of any military alliance.”

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right
Today's headlines
Sweden resumes aid to 'anti-gay Uganda'
Hillevi Engström and protesters against Uganda's anti-gay laws. Photos: Maja Suslin/Ben Curtis/TT

Sweden resumes aid to 'anti-gay Uganda'

Sweden has resumed sending development aid funds to Uganda, after suspending payouts back in March due to "anti-gay legislation". READ  

The Local List
Top ten coffee spots in central Stockholm
Fanny feels at home at the Blå Lotus. Photo: Isabela Vrba

Top ten coffee spots in central Stockholm

If you're wondering where to grab your next cappucino, then wonder no more. The Local talked to the locals in Stockholm and found out the best spots in town for the ultimate fika experience. READ  

Swedish neo-Nazis join fight in Ukraine
The Azov task force. Photo: Sergei Chuzavkov/TT

Swedish neo-Nazis join fight in Ukraine

Four Swedes are fighting with the Ukrainian task force Azov - a squad which flies a flag with Nazi symbols and, according to one Swedish soldier, fights for "a white Ukraine". READ  

Swedish elk get one-way ticket to Denmark
The elk in this picture are not the ones that will be sent to Denmark. Photo: The Uppsala Koala

Swedish elk get one-way ticket to Denmark

Up to a dozen elk will be transported from Sweden to Denmark in an effort to help maintain local marshlands. READ  

Sweden worst in EU at getting foreigners jobs
Photo: Henrik Trygg/Imagebank Sweden

Sweden worst in EU at getting foreigners jobs

UPDATED: Swedish citizens are the most likely to be employed in the EU, but Sweden is among the very worst when it comes to getting non-EU citizens into work. READ  

Man arrested for burning partner's face
Photo: Linn Malmén/TT

Man arrested for burning partner's face

Police suspect that a man in western Sweden is responsible for the extreme burns on his partner's face. The man has been arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault - and potentially attempted murder. READ  

In Pictures: Conchita Wurst in Stockholm
Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

In Pictures: Conchita Wurst in Stockholm

Eurovision winner and LGBTQ idol Conchita Wurst is in Stockholm this week for Stockholm Pride - and joined Swedes at Skansen for a colourful summer sing-along. READ  

Stockholm holds colour contest for new metro
Photo: Joel Bagon

Stockholm holds colour contest for new metro

Stockholm's new metro line is not set for preliminary construction until 2016, and will not be completed until 2022 - but Swedes already have the chance to vote for the new line's colour. READ  

Sweden's heat wave officially over
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Sweden's heat wave officially over

The heat wave that swept over Sweden recently has finally passed, meteorologists reported on Wednesday, promising cooler and more autumnal temperatures around the corner. READ  

Ukraine rebels release kidnapped Swede
Rebel tanks on the road to Horlivka in June. Photo: TT

Ukraine rebels release kidnapped Swede

The Swede who was kidnapped by pro-Russian rebels has been released after nearly three weeks of being held hostage - although no one knows where he is now. READ  

Stockholm Pride kicks off
The top six ways the US and Sweden differ
Swedish youth suicides hit 25-year high
Politician reported for selling 'negro ball'
Police turn blind eye to Swedish 'slave trade'
Blog updates

27 July

Approaching Stockholm (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I woke up in the comfort of my own little cabin on Eva and Rolf’s boat, it was 7:30am and I was feeling a bit groggy after a couple of beers with all the lovely locals the night before. The previous day had really taken its toll on my body and I was very stiff and..." READ »


24 July

Sharing our Pride: Celebrating Love & the LGBT Community! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"It’s mid- July in Stockholm, and with much of the city on vacation, things can seem a little quiet – the streets, the bus, and the grocery store. One thing that has not paused for a summer break, though, is preparation for Stockholm’s Pride Festival, which will take place from July 28 to August 2...." READ »

Stockholm Pride: Allsång på Skansen with Conchita Wurst
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
People-watching, June 26th - 28th. Get inside Stockholm's hottest nightclubs
Top ten Swedish taboos
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
What's On in Sweden
People-watching July 23
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at: