Lööf summons agency heads after lavish parties

Lööf summons agency heads after lavish parties
Swedish enterprise minister Annie Lööf has called in the heads of state agencies under her control for talks following revelations that the Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket) spent millions on expensive internal entertainment.

“We will make it patently clear to them that they have to tighten up their internal entertainment and have a discussion with them over the exact steps they intend to take,” said Marita Ljung at the department of enterprise.

The meeting has been called as a result of revelations that the Agency for Economic and Regional Growth had spent some 25,000 kronor ($3,680) per employee since January 2010 on luxury dinners, ski trips and spa visits.

“We hope to be able to gather them in the beginning of the week,” Ljung said.

According to a report in the Dagens Nyheter daily last week, the agency’s annual staff day alone, hosted by the prestigious Grand Hotel in Stockholm in May, ran up a bill in excess of one million kronor.

The report included details of stays at castles and mansion, fine dining, wine and chocolate tasting, spa visits and excursions to islands and ski resorts.

In addition, a further nine million kronor was spent on internal training and other conferences.

Criticism has also been directed towards Vinnova, the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems, for breaching its own guidelines for internal entertainment.

The other agencies set to take part in the meeting are the Companies Registration Office (Bolagsverket), the Patent and Registration Office (Patent- och registreringsverket), the Competition Authority (Konkurrensverket), Patent Attorneys Board (Patentombudsnämnden), the Geological Survey (Sveriges geologiska undersökning) and Growth Analysis (Tillväxtanalys).

“We need to have a discussion. The agencies set their own limits for internal entertainment. It is thus reasonable to have a collective discussion… on what is reasonable, common sense and exemplary,” said Marita Ljung.

“And it is of course important that tax regulations are followed,” she added.

TT/The Local/pvs


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