• Sweden's news in English

Freivalds regrets suffering of tsunami Swedes

The Local · 16 Feb 2006, 09:59

Published: 16 Feb 2006 09:59 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Freivalds, who has been widely criticised for her response after the catastrophe, has been threatened with a vote of no confidence in parliament.

Her appearance before the committee began at 8am - followed by the Prime Minister Göran Persson at 10am.

Freivalds began by explaining that before the tsunami on December 26th 2004 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had worked well when faced by crises. But the catastrophe in South East Asia was not like any other crisis.

"It was a nightmare scenario which nobody had foreseen," said Freivalds.

She claimed that the organisation had worked well but that it was undersized.

"That delayed our efforts and increased people's suffering," said the foreign minister.

"I and my colleagues regret that enormously, that extra suffering."

Last year Freivalds was reported as telling the Catastrophe Commission that she did not follow the mass media when she was at home. On Thursday, parliamentary commission member Jan Ertsborn, of the Liberal Party, wanted to know if that was the case.

"When I'm at home I'm able to follow the media, not when I'm travelling or at the foreign ministry, and then I do. I'm a very curious person who wants to know everything," said Freivalds.

"But there are occasions when I refrain from it out of consideration for my family."

Freivalds explained that that Boxing Day, December 26th, was special since she had worked the whole of Christmas Eve on another consular matter.

"So I felt that now I had to show my family that they don't always come second, so I didn't follow the media."

Laila Freivalds had no explanation for why it took until 23.30 on the Monday before the Swedish Rescue Services Agency (SRSA) was given the green light to go to Thailand. She said that earlier in the day she had declared that the agency should send whatever was deemed necessary, saying that "now it's better to send too much than too little".

During the day, Swedish officials were waiting for approval from Thailand, she said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was to make a decision on budgets and the defence ministry would give the job to the SRSA.

"At 17.30 the foreign ministry gave a clear decision to the defence ministry that we were prepared to foot the bill. I haven't managed to find out what happened after that," she said.

Story continues below…

Peter Althin, of the Christian Democrats, pressed Freivalds on why she had not sought information and whether she was working on Boxing Day. She was also asked about her trip to the theatre on the evening of December 26th, and why she asked her press secretary if she could go.

"As far as I remember I raised the question. But he doesn't remember that," she said.

The conservative opposition parties are threatening to demand a vote of no confidence against the foreign minister - but have agreed to wait until after the inquiry.

Green Party spokesman Peter Eriksson has said that his party could support a vote of no confidence if nothing new emerged in the inquiry. That would mean that Freivalds would be forced to resign.

Discuss this topic!

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Sweden can extend border controls, EU says
A police officer carrying out a check at Sweden's border with Denmark. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

EU countries including Sweden should be granted permission to extend temporary border controls by a period of a further three months, the European Commission has decided.

Nobel Prizes
'I'd say he's arrogant but I'd be lying': Swedes on Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performing in France. Photo: David Vincent/AP

Almost two weeks have passed since Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and he has yet to acknowledge the win. The Local asked Swedes what they think of the singer's silence.

Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast by thousands
A Swedish migration authority office in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The country has also slashed its prediction for 2017.

Swedish researchers plan new trucks for women drivers
File photo of trucks in Sweden. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Could vehicles adapted for women attract more female truckers to the profession?

These stats show Swedish driving isn't so gender equal
File photo of a Swedish woman driving a car. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A new survey shows that few Swedish women get behind the wheel when driving with their male partner.

Revealed: Game of Thrones could be coming to Sweden
Game of Thrones cast members at the Emmy Awards in September. Photo: Jordan Strauss/AP

The producers of the hit show have asked for three rounds of location pictures of Swedish island Gotland.

Prime Minister to meet Swedish troops in Iraq
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his Kurdish counterpart Nechervan Barzani. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Löfven is set to meet Swedish troops in Iraq on Tuesday.

Swedish politicians wage war on winter time
Soon it will look like this on your way home from work in Sweden. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Should Sweden stick with summer time all year round?

'Don't turn the Pope into a global teddy bear'
Sweden's Queen Silvia and Princess Leonore visiting Pope Francis in the Vatican last year. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

It's time to hold the Pope to account and make sure he turns his words about reform into action, argues a minister of the Swedish Church ahead of Pope Francis' visit to Sweden.

Löfven: 'Sweden will double its number of troops in Iraq'
Stefan Löfven and Haider al-Abadi during the visit on Monday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised to double his country's number of troops in Iraq following a meeting with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi on Monday.

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available