• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
'Sweden's 200 years of peace is no coincidence'
Foreign Minister Margot Wallström on Wednesday. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

'Sweden's 200 years of peace is no coincidence'

TT/The Local · 24 Feb 2016, 15:05

Published: 24 Feb 2016 11:05 GMT+01:00
Updated: 24 Feb 2016 15:05 GMT+01:00

"Sweden will not remain passive if a disaster or an attack would hit another EU country or a Nordic nation. We expect these countries to act the same way if Sweden is affected," Wallström reiterated to parliament as she presented her foreign policy targets for 2016.

Despite traditionally pushing a policy of military non-alignment, Sweden's ruling centre-left Social Democrat-Green government has been moving closer to Nato in the past year, amid growing fear of what is perceived as an increasingly aggressive Russia.

But opposition politicians hoping for a U-turn on Nato membership were left disappointed on Wednesday, and hit out at Wallström in the debate following her speech.

"What makes it so difficult to even discuss it? It would increase Sweden's security," asked Karin Engström representing the Moderates, the biggest centre-right party in parliament.

Members of the Centre Party, its colleague in the right-wing Alliance, questioned how Sweden's decision not to join the military organization contributes to security in Europe.

"We could recently celebrate 200 years of peace and that's no coincidence. It's the result of wise policies and freedom from alliances," countered Wallström.

In her speech, the outspoken minister also argued that in light of the refugee crisis, a stronger EU was ever-more important, addressing directly the UK's upcoming referendum on exiting the union.

"Internal division must be countered. It is vital that Great Britain remains in the union."

INTERVIEW: Wallström speaks to The Local about Brexit

She also addressed Sweden's candidacy for a place on the UN Security Council in 2017-2018, saying it would not stray from its feminist foreign policy to protect human rights.

Sweden will appoint a special 'human rights ambassador' and a 'disarmament ambassador' to campaign on human rights and non-proliferation, she said.

Story continues below…

Wallström went on to urge other EU countries to "take their responsibility" in accepting a larger share of refugees fleeing wars in the Middle East and Africa, saying: "We can't have a situation where some countries buy blankets and others invest in barbed wire."

Sweden took in more than 163,000 asylum seekers last year, the most per capita in Europe, but it has been struggling to provide accommodation for the record-influx.

In a separate move on Wednesday, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven tasked his Labour Minister Ylva Johansson with overseeing integration for new arrivals in the country.

"We face very serious challenges and it's important that the state is as effective as possible and that all pieces of the puzzle fall into place. That's my mission," said Johansson.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Five must-see cultural events in Sweden this weekend
Like The Bridge? You'll love one of the events we've picked out for this weekend. Photo: Erland Vinberg/TT

The summer is almost over but Sweden saved the best for last with these cultural events this weekend – including one that will make The Bridge fans happy.

Was there a secret plot to kill Swedish ex-UN chief?
Dag Hammarskjöld, the UN's Secretary General, pictured months before his death in 1961. Photo: TT

Ban Ki-moon wants to find out.

Joe Biden to arrive in Sweden for refugee talks
Stefan Löfven meets Joe Biden during a visit to Washington in March 2015. Photo: Monica Enqvist/Government Offices of Sweden

US Vice President Joe Biden will arrive in Stockholm on Wednesday evening ahead of talks with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven that are expected to focus on migration and refugees.

Boy who attacked goalkeeper 'bet thousands' on game
Photo: Mikael Fritzon/TT

A 17-year-old boy who stormed the pitch and attacked a goalkeeper in Sweden’s top division earlier this month has claimed he had placed a large bet on the result.

Furious fireman lashes out at Malmö car arsonists
Firefighters battle a blaze in Malmö earlier this month. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

A fireman in Malmö has won praise across Sweden for calling out arsonists on the “bullshit” reasons behind a spate of car fires in the southern city.

See Stockholm spectacularly change through the seasons
A bright autumn day in Stockholm. Photo: Delphine Fortin

In order to help her long-distance relationship, one Stockholm-based blogger produced a fascinating visual illustration of the Swedish capital throughout the seasons.

Groped woman had 'gigantic breasts' - player cleared
File image (2010) of Björklöven players in a huddle. Photo: public domain

A former prosector said the reasoning was "absurd" and "illegitimate".

Sweden’s high-speed trains the least punctual in Europe
One of Sweden's high-speed trains during a delay in Stockholm. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

It seems the Swedes are not quite so efficient after all.

Refugee crisis
Asylum seekers leaving Sweden in record numbers
The Swedish Migration Agency offices in Solna. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

The large number of asylum seekers leaving Sweden in 2016 coincides with a dramatic fall in the number seeking asylum in the country compared to last year.

Long-term damage seen from brain injuries: Swedish study
A model of the human brain. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

A study carried out in Sweden suggests that youths who suffer traumatic brain injuries are more likely to experience long-term psychological and social problems.

Sponsored Article
Malmö to host global skateboard championship
National
Experts: Gothenburg grenade blast is 'part of a cycle of violence'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Gallery
Property of the week: Karlsborg
National
Why Sweden could change its criticised detention laws
Blog updates

23 August

A Summer in Sweden (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"For our first year here in Sweden we decided to have all our holidays in Sweden.…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
The mystique of Asia - in the middle of Stockholm
National
Watch this dog's reaction when she tries Swedish fermented herring
Sponsored Article
Why you should learn to trade (and just how easy it is)
Gallery
People-watching: August 19th-21st
National
How to find student housing in Sweden
National
VIDEO: Swede films first Northern Lights of the season
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Gallery
People-watching: August 17th
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
Society
Swedish population nears ten million
The Local Voices
This Syrian artist found love in a Swedish library
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
National
Sex pigs halt traffic after laser attack on Pokémon teens. Only in Sweden.
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Gallery
Property of the week: Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm
Society
Drunk knight detained in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
National
Can you solve this Swede's strange Star Wars mystery?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
People-watching: August 12th-14th
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Swedes cheer first snow of the season
Gallery
People-watching: August 10th
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
The Local Voices
Syrian presenter: Swedish media should make more shows in Arabic
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Travel
Watch the meteor shower in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Lifestyle
How to survive a crayfish party
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Gallery
IN PICS: Your Sweden summer snaps
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
National
Why are fewer foreign graduates staying in Sweden to work?
Culture
This Swedish street artist's incredible murals will make your jaw drop
The Local Voices
Gabriel mastered Swedish and got accepted onto a medicine degree in just 7 months
3,361
jobs available