• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

'Reinfeldt has wasted Sweden's surplus'

TT/The Local/dl · 15 Jan 2014, 10:17

Published: 15 Jan 2014 10:17 GMT+01:00

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt kicked off the debate by arguing that jobs would be the main issue facing voters when they go to the polls in September.

"That's our greatest societal challenge," he said, explaining that demands on the individual were constantly increasing.

He stated that 200,000 new jobs had been created since his centre-right coalition took power in 2006. Reinfeldt claimed his government had also brought Swedes higher salaries, better purchasing power, and improved finances at the same time as interest rates have remained low.

"Our policies have brought results," the Moderate Party leader said.

Heading into the election, Reinfeldt said he hoped to stress free trade, sound public finances, and education.

But Social Democrat parliamentary leader Mikael Damberg, speaking for his party as chairman Stefan Löfven is not an MP, pointed to several promises made by the Alliance coalition that he feels have yet to be fulfilled, including better schools and strong public finances.

"In only eight years, Reinfeldt has squandered everything he inherited from (former Social Democrat Prime Minister) Göran Persson twice over. From a surplus of 67 billion kronor ($1 billion) to a deficit of 87 billion," said Damberg.

He also criticized the government's manner of tallying jobs and jobs seekers.

"If one calculates unemployment by your methods, Spain would have lower unemployment than Sweden. That doesn't add up."

In his own speech, Damberg addressed the situation in Sweden's schools, which suffered an unprecedented drop in the OECD's most recent Pisa rankings.

"To succeed in turning Swedish schools around, we need new leadership and a new government that also makes Swedish schools an economic priority," he said.

Minority Left Party leader Jonas Sjöstedt agreed with Reinfeldt that jobs would be the biggest issue in upcoming elections, claiming the government had failed to tackle unemployment.

Sjöstedt in particular took issue with the practice of workers being fired and then reemployed via staffing firms, a practice brought into sharp relief recently by budget airline Norwegian.

"In Sweden, you can do that. Fire people and rehire them the next day. Why is that the case, Fredrik Reinfeldt?" Sjöstedt asked.

Story continues below…

Meanwhile, Åsa Romson of the Green Party slammed Reinfeldt for ignoring one issue entirely.

"It's the climate and environmental devastation. Clearly it's not something that keeps Reinfeldt awake at night," she said.

Romson wondered why figures from state-owned energy giant Vattenfall pointed to an increased use of coal, despite a promise to the contrary made by the government during the visit of US President Barack Obama.

"How have you managed to break your promise to Obama and sabotage EU environmental policy with increased use of goal?" Romson asked before taking issue with Reinfeldt's claims about Sweden's emissions.

"It's funny that you say we've reduced our emissions at the same time that we've decided to release more abroad. Vattenfall's emissions are in Germany."

TT/The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swedish economic growth 'best in Nordics'
A new report says Sweden has the best growth prospects of the Nordics. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Sweden's economy is out-pacing its Nordic rivals, but high levels of household debt are still a problem.

Why Swedish football is introducing a green card
Swedish referees could soon be reaching for a green card. Photo: Andreas Hillergren/TT

You’ve heard of the red and yellow cards, but how about the green card?

Sweden won't charge foreign minister over 'queue jump'
Sweden's foreign minister, Margot Wallström. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's foreign minister Margot Wallström will not be charged over claims she was given special treatment to secure an apartment in Stockholm.

Swedes don’t want to join the euro - now or ever
Euros? Nej tack! Photo: Jens Meyer/AP

We'll keep our krona, thank you very much.

Opinion
'Bigotry is not dead in Sweden – we still need to talk'
Stockholm Pride 2015. Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Sweden still needs to do more to confront intolerance, argues columnist Paul Connolly.

Spotify gains listeners but it's still bleeding cash
Spotify's offices in Stockholm. Photo: Lars Pehrson/SvD/TT

The Swedish streaming giant expanded rapidly last year but hasn't yet turned a profit.

Man facing trial over refugee worker's murder
The man during a preliminary court hearing earlier this year. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

A man accused of killing a worker at a home for young refugees earlier this year has been charged with her murder.

Smombie Swedes hurt in smartphone accidents
Don't text and drive! Photo: Björn Lindgren/TT

The injury count of Swedes' tech-addiction revealed.

Interview
'Fika is a coffee break, with emphasis on break'
All pictures from the documentary 'Fika: to have coffee'. Photo: Fabian Schmid

The Local speaks to Zürich-based budding filmmaker Fabian Schmid about why he decided to travel to Sweden to shoot a documentary about the unique Nordic 'fika' concept.

Swedish lay judge quits over Soldiers of Odin link
Soldiers of Odin members photographed in Norway. Photo: NTB scanpix

UPDATED: A Swedish lay judge has stepped down after admitting he patrolled Stockholm with an anti-immigrant vigilante group.

Sponsored Article
How to find student housing in Malmö: 5 tips
National
Is this the most Swedish tattoo ever?
Sponsored Article
'Sweden gives artists the space to follow their dreams'
Gallery
People-watching: May 20th-22nd
National
How to really annoy a Swede abroad
Blog updates

20 May

Editor’s blog, May 20th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, Do not mention Abba! Or cuckoo clocks! Our most read article this week was…" READ »

 

17 May

What about “att”? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! It often seems like the small words are the ones that cause the most confusion.…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Food, fun, and reliable sun: Summer in Dubrovnik
National
How this war veteran is warming hearts in Sweden
Sponsored Article
How Stockholm startups help new employees feel at home
Gallery
People-watching: May 18th
National
How this Swede's viral ad totally nailed Stockholm's housing crisis
Gallery
Property of the week: Vasastaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Can you afford to live in Stockholm? (Hint: yes)
Lifestyle
The best Swedish cities for dating
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Gallery
People-watching: May 13th-15th
Culture
BLOG: Eurovision as it happened
Sponsored Article
'Only soft power can defeat radicalism'
National
Why a 116-year-old Swede isn't the world's oldest woman
Sponsored Article
Why Stockholm attracts so many successful researchers
National
Youth unemployment falls in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: May 11th
Sponsored Article
'Sweden gives artists the space to follow their dreams'
Gallery
People-watching: May 6th-8th
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Politics
Why Sweden's Greens are in free fall
Sponsored Article
Can you afford to live in Stockholm? (Hint: yes)
National
Can these cartoon Swedes help foreigners blend in?
Sponsored Article
Stockholm makes it easier for refugees to meet startups
National
Why this fearless woman is the talk of Sweden
National
Sweden set for sunny weekend
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Vollsjö, Sjöbo
Features
How to be a cool Swede during a hot summer
Gallery
People-watching: April 29th - May 1st
Analysis & Opinion
Why Sweden's fretting about Brexit
National
INTERVIEW: Swedish police officer 'beat me up and used racial slurs'
3,292
jobs available
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:
psdmedia.se