• Sweden's news in English

Budget cuts to force embassy closures: Bildt

TT/The Local/vt · 10 Dec 2010, 12:37

Published: 10 Dec 2010 12:37 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

On Thursday, the Riksdag passed a bill requiring the Government Offices to shave 300 million kronor ($43.64 million) from its operating budget.

The vote marked Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt's first parliamentary defeat since reelection as the far-right Sweden Democrats and centre-left opposition voted in favour of the cuts.

Bildt argued that as a consequence, the foreign ministry will be forced to spend more on embassies than the new budget allows.

"I had just gotten the foreign ministry's finances in order and we were getting ourselves back up on firm ground. Now we are in the hole again," said Bildt after a meeting with the Riksdag's Advisory Committee on EU Affairs on Friday.

He added that the ministry's portion of the budget cuts amount to over 100 million kronor.

"Now we will compile a list, which I believe is unfortunate, of 10 embassies that must close," said Bildt, who did not disclose further which locations would be affected.

Previously, the foreign ministry has named Sweden's missions in Algiers, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Havana, Hong Kong, Khartoum, Lisbon, Luanda, Pyongyang and Rabat as being in danger of closure as a result of the budget cuts.

An ongoing internal debate at the foreign ministry has continued for several years on previous embassy closure decisions. Bildt has come out firmly and made it clear that a number of embassies have already served their purpose.

When Bildt was asked whether or not he thought that more embassies should be closed, he said no.

"I wouldn't have chosen to close any more right now; I think we have found a good balance. It is clear that, as society develops, you open a close a few now and then. But not for financial reasons, no," he said.

Story continues below…

The Riksdag's decision was not well advised, he stressed.

"It was a stupid decision, a dangerous decision and a harmful decision. It will have a detrimental impact on Sweden, but the Riksdag has decided on it and unfortunately, we will be forced to implement it," he said.

TT/The Local/vt (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

13:22 December 10, 2010 by kenny8076
im sorry by why would SWEDEN need an embassy in Khartoum, Lisbon, Luanda, Pyongyang or Rabat?!?! what purpose or service does that provide?
13:32 December 10, 2010 by HowSwedeitis
@Kenny8076: In Pyongyang, for example, the United States and other nations use the Swedish Embassy there to conduct business. Now, if Sweden were to share it's embassy work with, say, Norway or Finland, that could be a reasonable alternative to having one of there own.

14:00 December 10, 2010 by Swedish123
I agree with you kenny8076. Sweden doesn t need embassy in all of those countries, as far with North Korea please that´s a America problem they fight a war against them 60 years ago, they allowed that Chinese an Soviet scientists give nuclear technology to North Korea so like i said their problem. Sweden has to worrie with their own problems not being what America say.
14:05 December 10, 2010 by Vitas
Too much embassys for so little country. Ha... Sweden so much now depends drom USA I think USA´s embassies can represent Sweden in world.
14:20 December 10, 2010 by Rolle
@Vitas: Really 'clever' remarks. Sounds as you are really well informed of international affairs... commie clown

@Swedish & Kenny: Do you really think Sweden doesn't need an embassy in Lisbon? what about Hong Kong and/or Buenos Aires? So we should just forget of our diplomatic and economic ties with PORTUGAL, Hong Kong and Argentina? What about swedes stationed in Hong Kong or southern South America?

I must agree with Reinfeldt and Bildt on this: cutting down on diplomatic missions isn't the smartest move. Actually i disagree with the gov't cuts propossed/approved by Social Democrats and Swedish Democrats (seems as they're working quite well togheter)
14:38 December 10, 2010 by Syftfel
I find it an embarrasment that Sweden has closed its Consulate in New York. New York!!!! When third world backyards like Kyrgystan, Honduras and Tschad have full service consulates in New York, one would think that Sweden would. Wouldn't one? It is not only a matter of cost. It's a matter of prestige and image which, diplomatically, is equally important, if not more so.
14:50 December 10, 2010 by Great Scott
I love it when Bildt throws his dummies out of his pram, he is nothing but an idiot. His only achievement since being in power is to upset almost every country there is. If there has to be cuts, then he should be the first. After that they can start on the remainder of the state benefit fraudsters.
14:53 December 10, 2010 by cogito
So many embassies, so much champagne, for such a small country.

Next let them close the embassies in other EU countries, which are redundant now that they've got Brussels.
14:55 December 10, 2010 by Åskar
I had a friend who worked at the Swedish embassy in Australia when the foreign department cut down on a previous occasion. With no staff reinforcement they had to take over the work at the embassy in NZ and consulate general in Sydney as well and if I remember correctly the consulate was much bigger than the embassy.
15:06 December 10, 2010 by jjoensuu
So I guess budget cuts would be a reason to share embassies between all EU countries (ok it would also move toward further integration but then again I am sure there are politicians who want exactly that).
18:36 December 10, 2010 by Ron Pavellas
I don't feel alarmed by this. I like the arguments in these comments that it is redundant to have embassies in EU countries. Perhaps Nordic countries could share embassies in smaller outposts? Reducing the size of government is always an issue worth addressing.
20:32 December 10, 2010 by Prat
I was told that most costs of the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang are paid by the USA, as Sweden represents U.S. interests there.

The Swedish Embassy in Berlin is housed together with other Nordic embassies in well-designed, partly shared facilities.
23:20 December 10, 2010 by OnessOfMankind
He says something racist and stays and not even punished...means the system is backing him..reminds me of the US when they had the racial killing, if a black is killed it was to the government like a bird is killed.

but if a white is hurt a little they would imprison the black guy and his family.

Same thing until now chek it, white rapist get 3 years white theives 2 years or less, black get life in Prison.

If he was an Immigrant teacher and said something to a Swedish kid he would be condemned to death.

Bias system until now we still find. But dont worry there are nice people and Cheap shallow people everywhere.

And love is stronger than hate.
23:32 December 10, 2010 by glamelixir
Excuse me all of you Reinfeldt a** L******, if those embassies are such a priority, I am soooo sure that they could find where to reduce their budgets in order to keep them open. It is such a manipulative strategy to go out and cry about it as ok well we have to close. Well...re write your budget if it is sooo important!

I have been at the embassy in Buenos Aires myself, they have plenty of unnecessary people working there, they have NO CLUE about anything, are unable to provide you any concrete information, and the only thing they did was give those Swedish food books for free.

I support the idea of a Scandinavian shared embassy to reduce costs, it makes sense in any case.
01:49 December 11, 2010 by Swedish123
Rolle. Well in some countries as you say should not be close, but in the case of North korea in my opinion the Swedish representation should be close, the situation in North Korea 85% was create by America since they fight the Korean war(1950-1953), america allowed Chinese and Soviet scientists give nuclear tech no N.Korea so today we have a problem, and in my opinion that swedish embassy should be close down because is america´s problem they create.
08:49 December 11, 2010 by Zhorka
Sweden is a country of local outreach. They do not need embassies. On rare occasions when they need something outside EU they can ask Brussels for help.
14:18 December 11, 2010 by munched
@Rolle Maybe if the government stopped voting themselves raises and actually used the entire budget they get from year to year without the surplus they always end up with AND stopped being the USA's bitch this wouldn't have come up. Threats from Reinfeldt to close embassies is just that. A threat. The US needs sweden embassies in place to continue being the pipeline for them they've always been. More big dog barking from small dog Bildt only serves him and Reinfeldt and the Americans they serve, the f*cking lackys. It's time to put an end to out of control govt. spending right now! If Ron Paul ever gets the chance to run the US, he'll put an end to all this nonsense and Swedes will be left standing with big costs and the ever present naive, stupid looks on their faces.
Today's headlines
Prime Minister to meet Swedish troops in Iraq
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his Kurdish counterpart Nechervan Barzani. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Löfven is set to meet Swedish troops in Iraq on Tuesday.

Swedish politicians wage war on winter time
Soon it will look like this on your way home from work in Sweden. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Should Sweden stick with summer time all year round?

'Don't turn the Pope into a global teddy bear'
Sweden's Queen Silvia and Princess Leonore visiting Pope Francis in the Vatican last year. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

It's time to hold the Pope to account and make sure he turns his words about reform into action, argues a minister of the Swedish Church ahead of Pope Francis' visit to Sweden.

Löfven: 'Sweden will double its number of troops in Iraq'
Stefan Löfven and Haider al-Abadi during the visit on Monday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised to double his country's number of troops in Iraq following a meeting with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi on Monday.

Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
Should Swedes think fairtrade with porn? Photo: Karin Malmhav/SvD/TT

A fairtrade attitude to pornography would be beneficial, Sweden's health minister told The Local.

Presented by Stockholm University
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

Nordic fashion took centre stage in the Swedish capital last week as Stockholm University hosted the “first-ever” academic conference looking at luxury and sustainability in the fashion industry.

Referee, coach and parents in Swedish youth football fight
File photo of a referee holding a red card not related to the story. Photo: Stefan Jerrevång/TT

A football dad broke his leg in the brawl in front of 11-year-old kids after a Hammarby youth football game.

Illicit abattoir kept more than 100 bulls' penises
A couple of young bulls not related to the story. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Dried cattle genitalia, goats' heads and hundreds of litres of lard were just a few of the many strange finds discovered when police raided a property in Sweden.

This is officially Sweden's most beautiful beard
The most beautiful beard in Sweden. Photo: Memo Göcek

According to a jury of barbers and 'well known bearded profiles', that is.

Presented by Invest Stockholm
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm

You might think it’s hard to make friends in a new city. But if at first you don’t succeed – try something else!

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available