Ohlsson defies critics to claim EU minister post

Birgitta Ohlsson has been named as Liberal Party colleague Cecilia Malmström's successor as Sweden's EU minister despite the initial reservations of party leader Jan Björklund.

Ohlsson defies critics to claim EU minister post

The Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) have been looking for a replacement for Malmström since it became clear that she would take Sweden’s seat on the EU Commission. Malmström left the government on January 22nd.

Jan Björklund has sounded out several candidates over the post, newspaper Dagens Nyheter reports, but all have declined, citing the short period before the next general election.

Ohlsson, the charismatic Liberal foreign affairs spokesman, emerged as an early favourite but has been reported to be less popular within the party hierarchy due to perceived disloyalty on a number of issues.

Ohlsson grabbed the headlines last year as an outspoken critic of the FRA signals intelligence law passed by the government last October, at one point threatening to vote against the government.

Birgitta Ohlsson, who has established liberal feminist credentials, has adopted positions contrary to the party position on several further issues such as parental leave quotas, which could have a bearing on the autumn election.

While Ohlsson is an enthusiastic advocate of Sweden joining Nato, one explanation forwarded by Dagens Nyheter for her appointment to the post could be to attract left-liberal voters who would otherwise cast their vote for the left-green coalition.

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