Having been a member of the Christian Democrat Party (Kristdemokraterna) since its conception in 1964, the politician and archetypal family man says he’s ready for the next step in his career: running for a seat in the EU Parliament.
“I can’t emphasize enough how great the EU idea is,” says Svensson. “Almost everything important is decided in the EU Parliament. About 60 to 70 per cent of decisions made in Sweden have some connections with the decisions taken by the EU.”
Svensson says his interest in politics first began when he was a university student in the early 1960s, and he joined the Christian Democrat Party in 1964. He was leader of the party from 1973 to 2004, in addition to being a government minister for development aid and human rights and deputy foreign minister from 1991 to 1994.
His career has earned him a sizeable reputation, which he says he hopes to use to help achieve his platforms if elected to the EU Parliament.
“I’ve had a good network with European politicians,” Svensson says. “Everyone now speaks of environmental problems and economic crisis. But for me the central point is to continue emphasizing that peace for Europe is an essential issue.”
Svensson says without peace and respect for human rights as a foundation of society then “there’s no point in discussing any other issues.” He says if elected, in addition to improving ethics, he hopes to help all Balkan countries join the EU. Plus, he says he supports an idea he recently read about – the potential creation of a museum of EU history.
“For me, it’s difficult to understand why people don’t take the possibility to vote,” Svensson says. “It’s not too hard to vote. I am disappointed that it’s so difficult to engage people for the EU Parliament election.”
Svensson lives with his family in Gränna, 300 km south of Stockholm, but says he is up for the task of commuting weekly to Brussels.
“I’m campaigning to work as hard as I can, and I really look forward to the election,” Svensson says.
“Many Swedes understand that I emphasize more than, I dare to say, any other politicians the necessity of ethical values. We must have a society where something is right and something is wrong. We must speak about cultural values we got from Christian ethics.”