• Sweden edition
 
Sweden mini-summit
Could Reinfeldt pip Juncker to EU top job?
Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Could Reinfeldt pip Juncker to EU top job?

Published: 09 Jun 2014 12:23 GMT+02:00
Updated: 09 Jun 2014 12:23 GMT+02:00

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte will be in Sweden on Monday night to meet with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. 
 
The Swedish government said the agenda at the Harpsund residence would be filled with talks about job creation in the EU and the constellation of the new European Parliament.
 
However, as the summit approached, experts began to question whether there wasn't something more pressing than Swedish meatballs on the dinner table, and whispers arose as to whether Reinfeldt himself could have the right-sized feet to fill the shoes of current EU Commission president, José Manuel Barroso. 
 
"It's not likely that Reinfeldt will become the president of the European Commission... but it's not impossible," Ulf Bjereld, political scientist at Gothenburg University, told The Local. 
 
Bjereld took to his blog on Sunday to sing the praises of the Swedish prime minister, saying he'd be "excellent" at the job, citing how he has kept the Alliance together and in power for almost eight years - "a historic political achievement," he wrote. 
 
He also admired Reinfeldt's "exemplary" attitude towards the far-right Sweden Democrats in keeping them at arm's length when it came to influencing policy. 
 
"We already know he's a good team player, he's respected far and wide among the EU states, and his record with Sweden's public finances has been exceptionally strong through the financial crisis and beyond," he told The Local. 
 
Reinfeldt is likely to lose at the national elections in September, Bjereld added, but would plunge his party into a major leadership crisis should he jump ship as the election campaign heats up.
 
Bjereld said that while Reinfeldt is a loyalist and unlikely to publicly show any enthusiasm for the EU position, the job could be a feather in the cap for the Moderates, compensating somewhat for a near-certain loss at the polls. 
 
The Telegraph newspaper, meanwhile, said that Reinfeldt was "one to watch", especially as a personal friend and ally of Cameron. 
 
While Reinfeldt himself hasn't commented on the speculations yet, he did question the suitability of Jean-Claude Juncker as the next European Commission president in a front-page interview with the Financial Times on Monday.
 
Juncker, the main candidate of the centre-right European People's Party (EPP) and the favourite to take the top job has already seen some staunch opposition from UK Prime Minister Cameron. The British leader is not a fan of Juncker's federalism, and also thinks elected national leaders and not the European Parliament should choose who heads the commission. 
 
Reinfeldt told the Financial Times he too was opposed to the Spitzenkandidat nomination process, which would automatically make Juncker Commission president by virtue of him being the candidate selected prior to the last month's elections by the EPP, the group that ended up winning most seats. 
 
"We do not support the idea because it would make it impossible for any other candidate and rule out a lot of potential commission presidents," he said. "We should take care of the balance between different institutions."
 
Meanwhile, Germany's Merkel has publicly endorsed Juncker to be the next president. This backing, however, may leave her in a "difficult position" during talks on Monday and Tuesday, predicted Michael Wohlgemuth, the director of think-tank Open Europe Berlin.
 
"It is quite well known that he is not her ideal candidate," he told The Local. "She would have preferred someone like Christine Lagarde; and she does not want to isolate Cameron on this important question."
 
"But at the same time she will have to stick to her endorsement of Juncker. This means that there could be a qualified majority decision in the European Council. A blocking minority might still emerge if, say, Italy or perhaps France do not support Juncker. Then Merkel would be off the hook. But since this seems unlikely at the moment, it might be wise to discuss other top-jobs and priorities in the EU – while hoping that Juncker may eventually drop out of the race as his own decision."
 
The three country heads will stay the night in Sweden, and will hold a joint press conference together with Reinfeldt on Tuesday morning. 
 

Oliver Gee (oliver.gee@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Photo: TT

Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains

Torrential rains in western Sweden have left some towns submersed as water levels have risen to 1.5 metres above normal for the season with forecasts indicating that is worse to come. READ  

Ebola crisis
Sweden pledges new aid to UN Ebola fund
Photo: TT

Sweden pledges new aid to UN Ebola fund

Sweden has offered a new sizeable contribution to the fund set up by UN chief Ban K-moon to fight the Ebola outbreak. READ  

Society
'Dark forces' target refugee hunting scheme
Photo: Lars-Göran Thuresson/Älgriket

'Dark forces' target refugee hunting scheme

The Swedish hunting association runs a project to encourage young asylum-seekers to learn about hunting, a move which has proved controversial among some far right groups. READ  

Business & Money
American sales squeeze Ericsson profits
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg presents the third-quarter earnings report at the company's headquarters in Kista. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

American sales squeeze Ericsson profits

Swedish telecoms equipment maker Ericsson reported a decline in net profit in the third quarter despite an increase in sales, boosted by business in emerging markets. READ  

Interview
'Too many concerts feel the same'
Sofar hosts secret gigs in Swedish apartments. Photo: Sofar

'Too many concerts feel the same'

Kattis Bjork founded Stockholm's secret gig scene - Sofar - a year ago. The Local caught up with her as she prepared to celebrate the project's anniversary this weekend and revealed the concept will spread to other Swedish cities in 2015. READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Sweden calls off suspect submarine search
Ships are returning to shore in Sweden. Photo: TT

Sweden calls off suspect submarine search

The core search for a suspected foreign vessel in Swedish waters has been called off. The armed forces said they remained convinced foreign underwater activity had taken place but had not identified an intruder. READ  

Business & Money
US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks
Ed Carbaugh prepares to install parts on a truck engine on an assembly line at Volvo Trucks' powertrain manufacturing facility in Hagerstown, Maryland, March 2014. Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP

US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks

Sweden's Volvo, the world's second-largest maker of trucks, said Friday it saw a spike in profits in the third quarter, boosted by thriving sales in the US and Japanese markets. READ  

Inspectors attacked at rogue doc’s surgery
Cigarettes and beer photo: Shutterstock

Inspectors attacked at rogue doc’s surgery

Inspectors who were sent to shut down a doctor’s surgery in Gothenburg were physically attacked and fled the premises to get help from the police. READ  

Police turn Swede’s vodka into water
A Swede loads a car with alcohol in northern Germany. File photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT

Police turn Swede’s vodka into water

Swedish police say they will pay a man 16,000 kronor ($2,200) in damages after much of the alcohol they confiscated from him was stolen, while many of the bottles they returned were filled with water. READ  

Diplomacy
US to get first female ambassador in Sweden
File photo: Athena Center for Leadership Studies

US to get first female ambassador in Sweden

The United States Embassy in Stockholm is set to get its first female ambassador after the White House announced it was nominating the Iranian-American ex-investment banker Azita Raji to take over from Mark Brzezinski. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
Blog updates

24 October

Editor’s blog, October 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Get ready to read our weekly digest of Swedish news in less than 60 seconds. The..." READ »

 

24 October

Is darkness weather? (Blogweiser) »

"I try very hard not to talk about the weather. This has come after a decade..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Get 20% off unique Swedish homeware
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
Gallery
People-watching: October 19th
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

985
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
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:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN