‘Give 100 million in export support’: Löfven

The Social Democrats want to invest in small and medium-sized export companies, wrote the party’s head Stefan Löfven in an opinion piece on Saturday.

'Give 100 million in export support': Löfven

Löfven, who is slated to hold his speech in Almedalen later on Saturday, suggested that the Swedish Export Council (Exportrådet) should receive 100 million kronor ($14.2 million) extra over a period of four years.

This extra cash would be directed to support smaller companies in their export. The millions “aim to help companies establish business connections and break into new markets”, he wrote in his opinion piece in newspaper Svenska Dagbladet (SvD).

Löfven states that as Sweden’s exports make up roughly half of the country’s BNP, has a major influence on tax revenue and welfare, and adds that increased export support is needed for small and medium-sized companies.

“Partly this is so that we can export more products, but it’s also because in a global economy, smaller Swedish companies aren’t just competing with other companies in Sweden, but all over the world. We have to start thinking exports much sooner,” said the Social Democratic leader to news agency TT.

When asked whether 25 million kronor per year is really enough to make an impact in this area, Löfven responded:

“Based on what the Export Council receives today, it’s an increase by more than ten percent, and 100 million isn’t so bad. Then we’ll have to see what we can do in future.”

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PM: Social Democrats could decide on Nato on May 15th

Sweden's Prime Minister has said that her party has brought forward the date for a decision on Nato membership by ten days, meaning a decision could be in place before a state visit by Finland's president in mid-May.

PM: Social Democrats could decide on Nato on May 15th

The decision had previously been tabled for a meeting of the party board on May 24th, but could now be taken at an extra meeting of the Social Democrats ruling committee on May 15th, Magdalena Andersson said at a press conference on Thursday. 

“We will of course discuss the issue and then we can see if we feel ready to take a decision or not,” she said at a Ukraine donors’ conference in Warsaw. 

She said that the security guarantees Sweden has received from the US and Germany for the period between a possible application and full Nato membership were significant. 

“It means a lot if Sweden chooses to send in an application, that we will be safer during the period up until we become members than we otherwise would be,” she said. 

“The party committee can take a decision then,” Party secretary Tobias Baudin he told Sweden’s TT newswire of the May 15th meeting. 

The meeting will come just two days after the Swedish government’s ‘security policy analysis group’, which includes representatives from all political parties, is due to submit its own reassessment of Sweden’s security situation. 

“It depends on what the security policy dialogue shows,” Baudin says of the decision. “Right now meetings in party districts are going at full pace.” 

The May 15th meeting will take place on the Sunday before the week when Finland’s Iltalehti and Sweden’s Expressen newspaper last month reported Finland and Sweden had already decided to jointly announce a decision to join Nato.

Finland’s president, Sauli Niinistö, is due to visit Stockholm on 17th May and 18 May on a state visit, where he will be hosted by King Karl XVI Gustaf.  

The meeting of the Social Democrats’ ruling committee will come shortly after the party holds three digital members’ meetings on security policy, on May 9th, May 10th and May 12th (although these may also be brought forward). 

There is still resistance in the party’s rank and file, with at least three of the party’s powerful leagues still openly opposed to joining: 

  • The Social Democratic Women in Sweden voted last week to continue its opposition to Nato membership.
  • The Swedish Social Democratic Youth League has said it would prefer Sweden to bolster its security through the EU.
  • The Religious Social Democrats of Sweden has said that it believes the decision should not be rushed through at a time of conflict.  
  • The Social Democrat Students’ League has said that it wants to wait until it has seen the security police analysis before taking a decision. 

None of these leagues can block membership, however. It is the Social Democrats’ ruling party committee which is empowered to take the decision.