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Sweden hailed as EU foreign policy bigshot

Sweden hailed as EU foreign policy bigshot

Published: 31 Jan 2013 14:53 GMT+01:00
Updated: 31 Jan 2013 14:53 GMT+01:00

Sweden is the one of the most influential countries in the European Union when it comes to European foreign policy, according to a new ranking, exerting clout nearly on par with heavyweights Germany, France, and the UK.

In its annual European Policy Scorecard, published on Thursday, the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) ranked Sweden fourth among EU member states in terms of foreign policy influence.

"Like France and Germany, Sweden was categorized as a leader in at least one aspect of each of the chapters of the Scorecard, which indicates that it is engaged across the spectrum of European foreign policy and not simply in regions of specific interest," the ECFR wrote in its report.

Sweden was found to be a "leader" in ten foreign policy areas included in the ranking, just behind the UK, France, and Germany.

In addition, Sweden was one of only three EU member states to avoid being ranked as a "slacker" in any policy area.

According to the ECFR, Sweden "emerged as one of the most frequent leaders in European foreign policy" in 2011, and its ranking in 2012 "made it almost as much of a leader as the big three".

Specific policy areas in which Sweden was seen as a leader among European countries included promoting human rights in China, providing financial support to countries in the Middle East and North Africa, contributing to Afghanistan, and supporting an arms trade treaty at the UN.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt hailed the news as "flattering", writing on his official Twitter account that he was "honoured by the very positive evaluation".

"By hard work we've built up an influence that is much larger than that which should be entitled to us within the EU according to our size," Bildt expanded in a post on his official blog, adding that Sweden only accounts for 2 percent of the EU's population.

Bildt went on to praise the "talented and engaged" civil servants within the foreign ministry, adding that Sweden must continue to work hard to maintain its influence.

"Continuing to be the driving and constructive force that we strive to be in an increasingly demanding foreign policy environment is going to require intensified efforts in the coming year," he wrote.

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Your comments about this article

15:23 January 31, 2013 by Rishonim
Yeah yeah yeah, we know Sweden is the best in everything. They are the best in cancer treatment, they are a the best at exporting arms, they are the best in cheating, they are leading the EU as the nation with the most one night stand, they are the best at excluding people with non Swedish sounding names from the job markets, they are the best at hypocrisy, etc etc!
15:51 January 31, 2013 by Iraniboy
I think Sweden can offer the best concept of leadership among other countries! Sustainable survival along with spreading the moral standards. Of course these two can sometimes go against each other, that's why it may look hypocritical at some points but at least better then alternative solutions practiced by other countries which is usually the supporting moral values as long as they gives us money/power!!!
12:21 February 1, 2013 by EP
Well said Rishonim, couldn't say it myself.

Never been to a country so in love with itself as Sweden and with so many naive people. Truth is, it's a small and insignificant country really on the world stage, but somehow they just don't get it ...
03:37 February 8, 2013 by Marc the Texan
Swedish civil servants are more inclined than most to build up bureaucratic infrastructure and spend other people's money. Of course that sort of mindset is going to be well received amongst EU bureaucrats.
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