Green Party favours selling parts of Vattenfall

Green Party spokesman Peter Eriksson believes that state power company Vattenfall is a major problem and is willing to sell off parts of the company.

Eriksson think that the government’s purchases of coal and gas power plants have been devastating for Vattenfall.

“Now it’s a cash cow that has suddenly become a problem instead and has difficulties with profitability,” Eriksson said in an interview with news agency Nyhetsbyrån Direkt.

“Vattenfall is a major problem today and I do not know how we can get this enterprise to function long term again and contribute to a green shift. There must be a goal instead of all profits being invested in coal and gas.”

Last week, Financial Markets Minister announced that the Christian Democrats believed the government should continue selling off state-owned companies. Companies on his list included SAS, TeliaSonera, Nordea, Vattenfall, SBAB, Posten Nordic, Lernia, Sweroad and Arbetslivresurs.

He added that the state had been able to reduce its indebtedness sharply with the sales it has made since the 2006 elections.

Regarding Nordea, Eriksson said it is fundamentally important that the state own a part of a bank, but he wants the state to keep SBAB because it continues to play a role in price squeezing.

Eriksson added in does not believe it is a good idea to buy back Apotek with government funds, something that Left Party leader Lars Ohly wants.

“I think generally that companies need profits to survive,” said Eriksson. “However, I think we need to look at reform to see how it works. One problem is that prices have increased.”

In terms of Vattenfall, Eriksson said he would be willing to sell any part of its coal and the international holdings, but added it must also be considered in light of what makes long term sense.

“The goal must be to make Vattenfall a profitable enterprise again that can contribute to the green shift,” he said.

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Green Party leader: ‘Right-wing parties want to push us out of parliament’

Per Bolund, joint leader of Sweden's Green party, spoke for thirteen and a half minutes at Almedalen before he mentioned the environment, climate, or fossil fuels, in a speech that began by dwelling on healthcare, women's rights, and welfare, before returning to the party's core issue.

Green Party leader: 'Right-wing parties want to push us out of parliament'

After an introduction by his joint leader Märta Stenevi, Bolund declared that his party was going into the election campaign on a promise “to further strengthen welfare, with more staff and better working conditions in healthcare, and school without profit-making, where the money goes to the pupils and not to dividends for shareholders”. 

Only then did he mention the party’s efforts when in government to “build the world’s first fossil-free welfare state”. 

“We know that if we want welfare to work in the future, we must have an answer to our time’s biggest crisis: the threat to the environment and the climate,” he said.

“We know that there is no welfare on a dead planet. We need to take our society into a new time, where we end our dependency on oil, meet the threat to the climate, and build a better welfare state within nature’s boundaries, what we call a new, green folkhem [people’s home].” 

He presented green policies as something that makes cities more liveable, with the new sommargågator — streets pedestrianised in the summer — showing how much more pleasant a life less dependent on cars might be.  

He then said his party wanted Sweden to invest 100 billion kronor a year on speeding up the green transition, to make Sweden fossil fuel-free by 2030. 

“We talk about the climate threat because it’s humanity’s biggest challenge, our biggest crisis,” he said. “And because we don’t have much time.” 

In the second half of his speech, however, Bolund used more traditional green party rhetoric, accusing the other political parties in Sweden of always putting off necessary green measures, because they do not seem urgent now, like a middle-aged person forgetting to exercise. 

“We know that we need to cut emissions radically if we are even going to have a chance of meeting our climate goal, but for all the other parties there’s always a reason to delay,” he said. 

“We are now seeing the curtain go up on the backlash in climate politics in Sweden. All the parties have now chosen to slash the biofuels blending mandate which means that we reduce emissions from petrol and diesel step for step, so you automatically fill your tank in a greener way. Just the government’s decision to pause the  reduction mandate will increase emissions by a million tonnes next year.” 

The right-wing parties, he warned, were also in this election running a relentless campaign against the green party. 

“The rightwing parties seem to have given up trying to win the election on their own policies,” he said. “Trying to systematically push out of parliament seems to be their way of trying to take power. And they don’t seem above any means. Slander campaigns, lies, and false information have become every day in Swedish right-wing politics.” 

He ended the speech with an upbeat note. 

“A better, more sustainable world is possible. There is a future to long for. If you give us a chance then that future is much closer than you think!”

Read the speech here in Swedish and here in (Google Translated) English.