Centre Party manifesto puts jobs first

The Centre Party sharpened its profile as the green party of the Alliance as it unveiled its election manifesto on Friday.

Jobs, entrepreneurship, public services and the environment form the centre of the manifesto, being unveiled at the party’s election convention in Stockholm.

“All these areas will lead to new jobs,” said party leader Maud Olofsson.

The party says it wants to make Sweden’s job market more flexible, and has borrowed a number of ideas from Denmark.

One such idea is so-called ‘youth contracts’, which would make it easier for companies to get rid of people under 26. This, the party says, would tempt more companies to take young people on. The idea has been criticised by some, including the other Alliance parties.

Another proposal is local agreements in the labour market, which should be better adapted to local trade and employment conditions, rather than nationwide regulations. Employees and companies should be able to finance further training and education through tax-efficient savings in a special ‘competence account’.

The manifesto also makes much of the Centre’s commitment to environmental issues. The party launched the idea of emissions trading for phosphorous and nitrogen. The idea is intended to reduce the amount of both substances leaked into the Baltic Sea, where they have been blamed for causing algae blooms.

The party also wants to engage in closer cooperation with other countries round the Baltic over environmental issues.

Short term green measures proposed include setting up wetland areas that can absorb nitrogen leaked from forests and meadows, a requirement for local water treatment works to remove nitrogen from water before releasing it to the sea, and a clampdown on the release of phosphorous into the sea.

More choice for people using the healthcare system is also on the Centre Party’s agenda. Referring to their new program as ‘flexidarity’, a combination of flexibility and solidarity, the party wants people to be able to choose where in Sweden they receive their care, and have the chance to choose between different care providers.