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Sweden touts pro-free trade agenda at Davos

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Prime Minister Reinfeldt on the scene in Davos. Photo: Maria Davidsson/TT
14:25 CET+01:00
Sweden's Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Finance Minister Anders Borg were in Davos on Thursday discussing the need for a more open labour migration and the importance of removing barriers to free trade.
The two ministers took to the debate pages of Swedish business daily Dagens Industri (DI) on Thursday to explain their plan of attack at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where the theme is "Reshaping the world".
 
The two Moderate Party members stressed the importance of more people finding work and the need for a reliable welfare system.
 
On the scene, Finance Minister Borg warned reporters not to be too optimistic about the economy after recent fruitful years.
 
"It's easy to get the impression that we have a different story to that of two or three years ago, with a clearer stabilization of the economic situation," he said, according to the TT news agency.
 
"But there is a risk of heading from a very gloomy outlook to one that's overly optimistic."
 
He added that European banks in particular will be feeling the pinch later in the year.
 
"European banks are always a cause for concern. There are risks they'll reveal that there weaknesses still exist, especially in southern European," he told reporters, adding that he thought it was important that central banks not be too hasty in withdrawing support measures.
 
In Dagens Industri, the politicians expressed that Sweden's lead should be followed when it came free trade, open labour migration from outside the EU, and a stronger presence of women in the workforce. The pair also called for measures to strengthen the EU's internal market for services, as well as a more developed digital economy.
 
"The case for free trade has never been stronger than today, as often stated by the Swedish business community," they wrote, demanding a quick conclusion to free trade negotiations with the US, Japan, Canada, India, and the South American Mercosur. 

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They added that they wanted to expedite the phasing out of all remaining trade barriers between EU countries and Scandinavia.
 
"Trade needs to be effectively as free and open as it is when we discuss it in theory."

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