Reinfeldt wants union cooperation

Fredrik Reinfeldt, who will take over the reins as Sweden's prime minister on Friday, has said he wants to cooperate with both trade unions and Social Democrats.

Underlining his election night promise to “govern as the New Moderates”, Reinfeldt said in an interview with Thursday’s Svenska Dagbladet that he wanted to pursue discussions with trade unions, including the LO confederation, which is closely lined to the Social Democrats.

“We have a strong trade union tradition in Sweden, and we should show our appreciation for this by seeking dialogue rather than confrontation,” he said. Reinfeldt adding that he had ideas for the form that this dialogue should take, details of which he would reveal after the new government takes office.

He also said that he hopes to solve the issue of Sweden’s energy supply through agreement with the Social Democrats.

“We ought to have broad agreement over this. The broader an agreement is, the more we can lay the foundations for the long term.”

But the cooperation that Reinfeldt was most keen to stress was that with his Alliance partners in the Centre, Christian Democrat and Liberal parties.

“There will be a need to develop the alliance between the parties. The idea is that the links between the centre-right parties will become stronger,” he said, adding that a special group would be created to create joint policies in more areas.

But Reinfeldt also said that there would be no party mergers, and that the Alliance would be built from the grass roots up, not by the leaders “sitting in a cellar” deciding on mergers.

In a separate article in Dagens Nyheter, outgoing prime minister Göran Persson said that his government was handing over a country in good shape.

“The government that takes office today has a better set of conditions than any Swedish government in modern times,” Persson wrote.

But, he added, the Social Democrats were handing over control “not without concern.”

“Previous centre-right governments’ neglect of Sweden is frightening. The recent election campaign, in which promises of spending increases and big tax cuts spouted forth from the right-wing alliance, also give rise to concern,” he wrote.

He added that he hoped the new government felt a responsibility to hand over a well-run country to the next government “at the latest after the 2010 election.

Meanwhile, the secretary of the Green Party, Håkan Wåhlstedt congratulated Sweden for “escaping being a Social Democratic one-party state.”

Writing in Göteborgs-Posten, he said that his party, which had supported the outgoing Social Democratic minority government, was met by a “frightening nonchalance” from the Social Democrats.

He said that the large majority of Swedes had done a good deed by voting out the Social Democratic government, which had been allowed to be “arrogant and dictatorial” for far too long.

“We Greens have also wanted a new government, but we failed to communicate that you don’t actually need to vote for the Alliance to get one.”