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Reinfeldt pans proposed eurozone ‘government’

Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt took a doubtful stance to the "true economic governance" within the eurozone called for by French president Nicolas Sarkozy and German chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday.

Reinfeldt pans proposed eurozone 'government'

“It is important that this initiative doesn’t just lead to further meetings,” said Reinfeldt to news agency TT.

The idea of closer economic integration within the eurozone is not a new one, said the prime minister, adding that this is not the first time that Sarkozy has called for a closer economic and fiscal policy.

“The best part was decisive formulations on bringing forward the rationalization of state finances,” said Reinfeldt.

He is not in favour of a tax on financial transactions, however.

“I don’t think that it will work unless it is applied globally, for everyone at the same time. What was expressed yesterday was that it would be applied to just the eurozone,” he said.

According to Reinfeldt, Sweden is interesting because it is the only country in Europe with any experience of this kind of transaction tax.

“Our experience is that if this is applied to a limited part of a market it will generate limited revenue. And transactions move. If this is applied on the eurozone, it is easy to imagine a large part of international transactions to move to London, or perhaps Stockholm,” Reinfeldt said.

Sarkozy and Merkel also announced on Tuesday that all eurozone members should adopt laws by the middle of next year committing their governments to balanced budgets.

According to Reinfeldt, however, these criteria are already part of the EU stability and growth pact. The most important issue, he argued, is not to make goals but to take appropriate action.

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OFFBEAT

Swedish teen hits gold with love tweets to PM

A perky Swedish schoolgirl with a wry sense of humour has suddenly found herself with thousands of fans fascinated with details of her fictional crush on Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, making her our pick for Swede of the Week.

“Imagine you and Reinfeldt sending silly snapchats to eachother ♡,” reads the maiden tweet from the @imaginreinfeldt Twitter account.

The tweet is accompanied with a picture of the Swedish prime minister in profile, a finger on his nose as he stares at a microphone, apparently deep in thought.

 

 

Since taking its place in the twittosphere on the evening of September 8th, a mere four days ago at time of writing, the account has attracted more than 3,200 followers, much to the surprise of its creator, 14-year-old Ebba.

“The response has been great fun. It's great to know that I'm able to make people laugh,” she says.

When contacted by The Local on her mobile phone, Ebba is in gym class, huffing along on a run with her fellow sixth graders in Hallen, a community of 200 residents on the shores of Storsjön lake in Åre municipality in northern Sweden.

“I really never imagined this would attract any attention. I did it because I thought it was fun,” she explains when asked about the Twitter account.

 

 

Ebba says she first began to reflect on the gold mine of humour hidden beneath the prime minister's austere exterior when she was 11-years-old, around the time of Sweden's last general election when Reinfeldt and his government earned a second term in office.

“He has this appearance that is somewhat serious. But I think he looks a lot like a puppy dog,” she says.

“I've always thought he's sort of an amusing guy who is easy to make fun of.”

 

 

Over the past couple of years, Ebba, a girl with a “special sense of humour who likes to joke about inappropriate topics” offered up a range of Reinfeldt-inspired quips to her friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Seeing Reinfeldt's face plastered on the television and the front pages of newspapers during last week's visit of US President Barack Obama prompted Ebba to think anew about the next step in her ever-evolving Reinfeldt joke meme.

“I'd gotten a lot of positive responses to my postings on social media,” she explains.

“And I had all these ideas of imagining Reinfeldt in different made-up scenes, so I decided to launch an entire Twitter account dedicated to the joke of having a crush on Reinfeldt.”

 

 

Ebba, who is currently single, emphasizes that flirtatious Twitter account is “totally made up” and that she in no way harbours feelings for Reinfeldt, who finalized his divorce from his wife Filippa in February 2013 after two decades of marriage.

Nor does she harbour any political leanings of her own.

“I'm not into politics. I don't have any real political opinions of my own. The account is meant to be totally neutral,” she says.

All the @imaginreinfeldt tweets are written in English, Ebba says, for the simple fact that “everything sounds much funnier in English”.

While Ebba has yet to meet Reinfeldt face-to-face, she knows exactly what she'd do should the opportunity arise.

“I'd simply tell him he's really lovely,” she says.

“And then I'd give him a big hug.”

Editor's Note: The Local's Swede of the Week is someone in the news who – for good or ill – has revealed something interesting about the country. Being selected as Swede of the Week is not necessarily an endorsement.

SEE ALSO: A list of The Local's past Swedes of the Week

David Landes

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