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Sweden a 'humanitarian super power': Bildt

Sweden a 'humanitarian super power': Bildt

Published: 13 Feb 2013 08:55 GMT+01:00
Updated: 13 Feb 2013 08:55 GMT+01:00

Sweden's foreign policy is being debated in the Riksdag on Wednesday. Follow The Local's live blog for the latest updates and reactions.

David Landes, 11.40am

While the debate continues, we're going to wrap up the live blog. Stay tuned to the site for some additional reporting on what was said in the Riksdag today.

David Landes, 10.56am

It seems the current horsemeat scandal made its way into the foreign policy debate when Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) foreign policy spokesman Fredrik Malm said the foreign policy of the red-green opposition parties was like "frozen lasagne".

"Nice on the outside, but you never know what's inside."

Malm also said Swedes need to understand that issue of refugees constitute a permanent, rather than temporary, issue.

He also followed party leader Jan Björklund's comments earlier in the week calling for an increase in defence spending, and also called for Sweden to join Nato, a long-standing Liberal party wish.

David Landes, 10.29am

Bildt said he's in favour of a strong national defence that also participates in international peace operations. Sweden's defenc policy has been a hot topic of debate in recent weeks following comments by the country's top military commander that Sweden could only defend itself for a week if attacked.

Bildt also too a jab at the Sweden Democrats, saying they "want to hold the world out of Sweden and Sweden out of the world".

David Landes, 10.24am

Bildt back at the podium responding to other speakers. He took issue with Ahlin's claims that the Sweden isn't fully engaged at the UN.

He called the United Nations an important institution for Swedish foreign policy and that, if anything, Sweden has been critical of the UN Security Council.

"Sweden's values are more important than sitting in an intentional body," said Bildt, in commenting on Sweden's failure to get voted into the UN Human Rights Council last year.

David Landes, 10.20am

The Left Party's Hans Linde criticized the government's foreign policy for helping the powerful at the expense of the powerless.

He also lamented Swedish companies' role in "plundering" the world's poor, saying the government invests in firms that contribute to poverty.

Linde also questioned why Sweden would devote 15 billion kronor in taxpayer money to conduct trade with Iran before calling for a "new economic world order".

David Landes, 10.15am

Julia Kronlid of the Sweden Democrats accused Sweden of having into an "EU-friendly slumber" and argued that Swedes should also be awarded the chance to express their views on EU membership in the way Britons will be able to do following Prime Minister David Cameron's promise of a referendum.

She also said it was regrettable that the government wanted to give recognize a Palestinian state.

David Landes, 10.07am

Incidentally, the Green Party on Wednesday reported Foreign Aid Minister Gunilla Carlsson to the Riksdag's Constitutional Committee for the way in which Swedish foreign aid funds are managed.

They cite a 2010 report showing that the foreign ministry lacks procedures for managing its own aid projects, and want the committee to see if the ministry has acted in accordance with current regulations.

David Landes, 9.59am

Next up is Bodil Ceballos of the Green Party. Unsurprisingly, she argues that Sweden needs to be a leader in climate and environment issues.

She also brought up Sweden's weapons exports, arguing that states that choose to buy weapons instead of helping their populations shouldn't be a priority.

David Landes, 9.50am

"Sweden must recognize a Palestinian state" the Social Democrats demand, according to Ahlin.

David Landes, 9.45am

Ahlin thinks that the United Nations doesn't receive enough attention in the government's foreign policy. He thinks Sweden's UN engagement is "poor".

David Landes, 9.41am

Urban Ahlin says he welcomes the fact that Swedish foreign policy begins at home an in the Nordic region.

David Landes, 9.37am

So, Bild't speech is over. You can read it in its entirety (in Swedish) by

following this link.

Now Social Democrat foreign policy spokesman Urban Ahlin has the floor.

Live tweets of Carl Bildt's speech

David Landes, 9.07am

The Local's Ann Törnkvist is live tweeting Bildt's speech. Follow Ann on Twitter here.

David Landes, 8.55am

Things are just about to get underway in the Riksdag, with Foreign Minister kicking things off with his annual declaration of Swedish foreign policy.

You can watch it live (in Swedish) by clicking here.

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