Swedish media gorges on Reinfeldt’s black week

The week's revelations about ministers' unpaid TV licences, cash-in-hand nannies and private finances was the favourite theme for most of Sweden's leader writers on Saturday morning.

And most are describing trade minister Maria Borelius as the main problem for prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

Uppsala morning paper Upsala Nya Tidning wrote that within the Moderate Party, the calls for her resignation are getting louder.

“Pressure from the public, combined with the fierce criticism Reinfeldt should get for not having dealt with the problem, make it almost impossible for him to keep Borelius in the government,” said UNT.

A mistake in the past does not rule out the possibility of being a minister, but there must be a limit to what can be accepted, continued the leader.

It added that the actions of Borelius and culture minister Cecilia Stegö Chilò – who did not pay her TV licence for over a decade – show a lack of respect for democratic decisions.

The liberal Göteborgs-Posten, like many other papers, saw Reinfeldt’s press conference about the secret tsunami tapes as a way for the prime minister to win himself some breathing space.

“Reinfeldt needs time, partly to give Maria Borelius time to realise that she ought to quit before she is fired. With an internal investigation into her affairs, Reinfeldt cannot give a clearer indication of the way things stand,” wrote GP.

Östgöta-Correspondenten, an independent conservative paper, railed against the culture minister’s failure to pay her TV licence – an area which now falls under her ministerial jurisdiction.

“It’s just too much. Not even Public Service on P1’s Good Morning World would do a sketch on that theme,” wrote the paper, referring to a popular comedy show.

Reinfeldt’s statement that Stegö Chilò and Borelius did not have any idea that they would be ministers when they dodged the tax on their nannies “smacked of double standards” said Corren.

Still worse, according to the leader writer, was migration minister Tobias Billström’s attempt to make an ideological point by saying that he hadn’t paid his licence fee because he didn’t like SVT’s programmes.

The left wing Norrländska Socialdemokraten argued that the government could scarcely have had a worse start:

“On questions of honour and trust, credibility has fallen like a lead balloon.”

Expressen wrote that Reinfeldt’s evasive action with Friday’s press conference gave the impression of panic in the government, which is a bad sign.

“Reinfeldt has failed in his private assessment of the ministerial candidates’ suitability,” said Expressen, which recommended that the ministerial candidates be questioned in parliament.

“In the USA, candidates face public committee hearings before they are given a role in government,” noted the paper.

Aftonbladet, which is partly owned by the union organisation LO, linked Maria Borelius’s tax avoidance with the jailing of former Skandia boss Ola Ramstedt on Friday.

“Overall, it’s been a tough week for greedy capitalism,” said the paper.