• Sweden edition
 
Sick leave dominates first election year debate

Sick leave dominates first election year debate

Published: 20 Jan 2010 19:34 GMT+01:00
Updated: 20 Jan 2010 19:34 GMT+01:00

It was Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt who set the ball rolling on Wednesday in a debate viewed as the launch pad for the respective parties' campaigns for a general election that is just eight months away.

Reinfeldt laid out three main challenges facing his government if reelected in the autumn: full employment, a higher quality social welfare system, and strong opposition to the dual dangers of drugs and violence.

The Prime Minister billed the election as a straight choice between two alternatives: an experienced Alliance that has successfully navigated a period of economic turbulence versus a left-wing experiment based on "fake accords", vital parts of which would be sent for official review and postponed until after the election.

Reinfeldt spoke further of the need to empower citizens by continuing to cut taxes while also investing in the social welfare system.

Social Democrat leader Mona Sahlin countered that policies enacted by the previous government, led by her own party, were the main reason Sweden had not come off worse from the global financial crisis.

She also rejected claims by the Moderate Party leader that the Red-Green coalition's pre-election agreements were in any way "fake", or that their sickness benefits proposals were financially irresponsible.

"What you describe as fake accords are in fact clean-up jobs aimed at reestablishing a decent sickness benefits system. You got your job by saying that there would be more people in work and fewer excluded. The reverse happened, but I don't call it fake, I call it right-wing politics," said Sahlin.

Eighteen months have passed since the government first decided to place limits for each link in the chain of Sweden’s welfare and benefits programmes, a move designed to bring as many people back into the workforce as possible.

A report released last week showed that Swedes spent less time on long-term sick leave and more returned to work as a result of the new sick leave rules introduced in 2008. But opponents of the measures say they have created a harsher social climate in which vulnerable citizens risk falling by the wayside.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

20:28 January 20, 2010 by krigeren
Typical Swedish Politics.

Arguing over who gets the what part of the pie rather than making the pie bigger.
20:42 January 20, 2010 by moaca
Is it different in your country do you think? This is politics remember, they play the blame game all the time trying to win votes for the coming election. MP's are always arguing. There are very few pragmatic leaders with common sense unfortunately. Just look at the morons ruling the other countries, or do you really think they do it better elsewhere?

The really good leaders are shortlived because they dont follow the rest of the sheep.
22:25 January 20, 2010 by zircon
So, if you get Euro 600,-- in another EU country, social benefit, how much is that in Reinfeldt's future High Quality Social welfare system?
22:57 January 20, 2010 by Jan M
The country is running a budget deficit and unemployment has risen. Reinfeldt has a solution. Cut taxes and increase investment in social welfare. The intended therefore being presumably to increase the deficit further and make people feel wealthier at the same time. He is a muppet. It failed to work in the UK and it is not going to work anywhere else either. I doubt that Mona has any world class ideas either mind you. As for empowering citizens, the evidence is that if they already are empowered. A legal system that imposes negligible sentences for rape and murder and an attitude to copyright that until recently has promoted piracy. High quality empowerment. All the evidence that Swedes want something for nothing just like everyone else and without an effective legal system that is more achievable than in most countries.
01:22 January 21, 2010 by americanska
moaca - I think krigeren's point is that they are both arguing for different levels of socialism. rather than policies of economic growth.
02:03 January 21, 2010 by johnsorel
Kind of like that "economic growth" they have in America?

Largest trade deficit in the world (buy more than sell)

Largest budget deficit in the world (spend more on stupid wars than they take in)

Massive job exports -- stagnant and lowering wages -- this generation living a lower quality of life than the last -- and the next generation will be worse off. Health care that costs 2Xs as much as other industrialized nations.

Your Americanska economic growth is junk food economics...
02:53 January 21, 2010 by svenskdod
I am thinking that the Politicians of Sweden need to go back to school. They are arguing over frivolous topics in an attempt to displace the publics concentration on the basic role of government.

Their responsibility is to take care of public funds and invest in responsible longterm endeavours that will benefit the public in a positive way. They are accountable to the citizens of Sweden, no one else.

If we look at it this way, the only thing on their mind should be finding employment for each and every citizen of the country. Idiotic sickness benefit arguments just cloud the true issues. Prevention is always better than cure (costs less too). If people are employed and can take some responsibility for their lives and that of their loved ones they feel much better about themselves.

If only we had some direct politicians in this country (or the world) who were honest and forthcoming.
09:14 January 21, 2010 by Glempa
I warn Swedes to look at UK history over the lasy 30 years.

In the 70's we had a socialist government that bankrupt the country and the UK had to go begging to the IMF for a rescue loan, the first and only western country (until Iceland recently) to do this. But UK socialism then, with all industries nationalised and union leaders deciding government policies, was very different to the swedish model.

Then we Margret Thatcher with her tough spending and tax cuts, and her ideas that the free market should decide everything and no one was entitled to support from the government. Benefits would be cut to force people back to work and union powers were cut. She was going to make UK efficient and that would bring back jobs.

What we got was mass unemployment (over 4 million) and mass poverty. There were no jobs for people to have, and they had no money to live on. Yes, the UK had a budget surplus but the UK has not had a trade surplus for nearly 30 years. Today the Uk has one of the highest poverty rates in Europe, and people I worked with have an american attitude of not caring about other peoples' welfare.

The likes of Reinfeldt are keen to cut taxes and benefits because they are rich enough to afford it. For the rest of the nation, it is quite a different story. Sweden may not be perfect but I moved here to give my children a better quality of life and I have no regrets.
11:43 January 21, 2010 by Bensonradar
"...cut taxes while also investing in the social welfare system."

This is a bit confusing. The social welfare system is funded by taxes. If taxes are cut, there is less money to spend on social welfare. Is this right? They could take the money from other areas like education and defence, maybe.
13:02 January 21, 2010 by karex
@Bensonradar

If taxes are cut it does not necessarily mean there will be less money to spend on social welfare. It all boils down to efficiency (and in some cases downright honesty and social responsibility): how much is exactly available? How much is being spent on what it's actually supposed to be spent on? How much is being squandered?

If you curb the squandering, you could actually achieve better social services while still cutting taxes. It's a matter of priorities, social responsibility and downright honesty.
13:06 January 21, 2010 by Beynch
Do not let the Sahliness fool you! That marxist vermin! Give her a chance and we'll all be living in a socialist dictatorship. Remember this woman commenced her career in SSU in Hägersten, and has never done an honest day's work in her life since then. In fact we should all be wary of career politicians. They like their sinecures where they lift a hefty, taxpayer funded, salaries, while doing little or nothing, and mete out their besserwisser power. It is the Sahliness' predecessors, beginning with OP, with their national cry for more government, who has turned Sweden into the multicultural sewer that it has become under liberal-socialist dogma. Do not let her continue metastasizing the sordid mess. Take Sweden back from this useless garbage. Time to watch the Social Democrats circling in the drain and pour out for ever! Dump the loser Sahlin.
Today's headlines
Sport
Sweden's star striker Zlatan 'recovering well'
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is Sweden's top scorer in history. PHOTO: TT/Maja Suslin

Sweden's star striker Zlatan 'recovering well'

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is recovering well from the nagging heel problem that has stopped him playing for Sweden during its Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. READ  

International
Swedish sisters create viral Syria stir
A shot from the video on YouTube.

Swedish sisters create viral Syria stir

Two sisters from Södertälje near Stockholm are celebrating getting more than 1.3 million hits on YouTube, with a video calling for peace in war-torn Syria. READ  

Pirate Bay
Pirate Bay founder gets three years in prison
A 2013 image of Svartholm Warg. Photo: TT

Pirate Bay founder gets three years in prison

Swedish "hactivist" Gottfrid Svartholm Warg has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for hacking crimes. READ  

Royal family
Princess Madeleine to make Nobel comeback
Princess Madeleine at a previous Nobel banquet. Photo: TT

Princess Madeleine to make Nobel comeback

Sweden's Princess Madeleine is scheduled to appear at the Nobel Festival in Stockholm in December, after taking time out from her royal duties to focus on looking after her daughter. READ  

Politics
'We knew that Israel would be critical'
Foreign Minister Margot Wallström (left), with Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Photo: TT

'We knew that Israel would be critical'

Sweden's Foreign Minister has told The Local she respects Israel's decision to recall its ambassador after Sweden officially recognized the State of Palestine, and laughed off comments about IKEA furniture made by her Israeli counterpart. READ  

Analysis
'Store up your sunlight hours before winter'
Doctors say we should make the most of the autumn sunshine. Photo: Shutterstock

'Store up your sunlight hours before winter'

Spending time outdoors this autumn will help you survive a cold, dark Swedish winter. Baba Pendse, Head of Psychiatry at Lund University shares his top tips for battling the seasonal blues with The Local. READ  

Sports
Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid
Skiers hit the slopes in Åre, western Sweden. Photo: TT

Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid

Norwegian sports officials have said they want to co-host the winter Olympics with Sweden in 2026. But there has so far been no official response from Sweden. READ  

National
Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court
Photo: TT

Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court

A teenage boy who painted anti-Israel slogans and symbols on the Concert Hall in Gothenburg has been convicted for the damages he caused, but he walked free from racial agitation charges. READ  

Entertainment
A closer look at Sweden's rising stars
Swedish actresses Sandra Huldt and Julia Ragnarsson. Julia (right) has been nominated for a Rising Star award. Photo: TT

A closer look at Sweden's rising stars

Like to be ahead of the game when it comes to the next big thing on the silver screen? We find out more about the Swedish nominees for the Rising Star award to be presented at Stockholm's International Film Festival next week. READ  

Science
Swedish women in two-year sex pill study
Contraceptive pills have been linked to mood swings. Photo: Shutterstock

Swedish women in two-year sex pill study

Three hundred women from across Sweden are taking part in a study designed to demonstrate that modern contraceptive pills don't lead to decreased libido or mood swings. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween
Sport
Top ten quotes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
People-watching: October 30th
National
Sweden remains fourth best for gender equality
Blog updates

31 October

Editor’s Blog, October 31st (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, Welcome to our latest 60-second round-up of the week’s news. First, Sweden made headlines around the..." READ »

 

29 October

Scariest day (Blogweiser) »

"This is what’s frightening me on Halloween. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4OFZVCu8J0&list=UUJu5J7jG4uoYSjWbpFsJBuQ Follow my posts on FB. ..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Sport
World Cup ski race on 'fake' Stockholm slope
Society
An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft
Society
Stockholm taxis offer free therapy sessions
National
The Local meets Health Minister Gabriel Wikström
Gallery
Property of the week: Österåker
Society
Homeless turtles get Stockholm police ride
National
Construction worker has 'Sweden's best beard'
National
Italian musician jazzes up Sweden's Lapland
Gallery
Zlatan's career in pictures
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: October 25th and 26th
Lifestyle
'Swedes are funnier than they think'
National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
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

970
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:
www.swedishdowntown.com
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:
http://psdmedia.se
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.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN