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Pot shots at PM sullied Vattenfall review: critics

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KU head Peter Eriksson (C) questions Olofsson's top aide. File: TT
09:02 CEST+02:00
The parliamentary inquiry into how the Swedish government handled the Vattenfall purchase of Nuon descended into elections-tainted pot shots at the prime minister, critics said as the review wrapped up.

The MPs on the parliamentary committee on constitutional affairs (Konstitutionsutskottet - KU) have now formally criticized the former enterprise minister, Maud Olofsson. But the parliamentarians, who come from both sides of the political aisle, were not unanimous in their critique, Olofsson herself noted.

The conservative and centre-right MPs on the committee have accused the RedGreen opposition and the Sweden Democrats for trying to put part of the blame for the loss-making deal on Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, and not only on his then enterprise minister.

"Due to election fever, the committee is about to slide into a new mode of practice," Moderate Party MP Per Bill said at a press conference.

His party faithful and coalition partners refused to sign off on the phrase that Olofsson "cannot avoid criticism" for her ministry not keeping adequate minutes and documentation ahead of giving state-owned energy giant Vattenfall the go ahead to purchase the Dutch company Nuon in 2009. 

While mild in layman's ears, "cannot avoid criticism" has long been considered the most stringent rebuttal of a Swedish government minister.

Social Democrat Björn von Sydow, who sits on the committee, refuted claims that the left-of-centre opposition had turned KU into an electioneering battleground. 

"The prime minister does have responsibility when it comes to oversight and how the government actually functions," he told the TT news agency.

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The committee did not officially criticize the prime minister in its final review.

Olofsson has refused to attend any committee questioning, which she as a former minister has no legal obligation to do. She has repeatedly refused to answer the question whether she kept the prime minister informed of Vattenfall's plans or not. 

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