Greens call for state-run unemployment insurance

The Green Party has said it wants to transform Sweden’s current system of unemployment insurance (a-kassa) into a state-run program and combine it with social insurance (Försäkringskassan).

According to a proposal put forward by the party’s governing board over the weekend, a new state agency should be created to administer the combined unemployment and social insurance programs.

“We want to replace fees with a tax and build a state-run, comprehensive insurance programme,” said Green Party spokesperson Peter Eriksson to the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

He considers the proposal a “left-leaning variation” of the current Alliance government’s proposal for mandatory unemployment insurance.

“We can’t accept having so many people outside the social insurance system like there are today, and actions by the centre-right government only aggravate the problem,” said Eriksson.

The proposal also calls for nationalized social welfare benefits which would, to the extent possible, equalize the conditions and payments for both the unemployed and those on long-term sick leave.

At the same time, the board wants to make it clear that the party no longer wants to push for the implementation of a citizens’ wage (medborgarlön), although the proposal will remain in the party’s program.

The citizens’ wage concept calls for all forms of government welfare payments to be combined into a single payment to guarantee citizens a basic level of economic security.

The decision to de-emphasize citizens’ wages caused governing board member Karin Jansson to give up her responsibility for economic security issues.

In her letter to the board, Jansson wrote that the party’s program carries little weight when the Green Party “wants to show that it is capable of governing and harmless in the eyes of other political parties.”

Despite giving up her primary area of responsibility, Jansson will remain a member of the party’s board.