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'We can afford to invest in Sweden': Reinfeldt

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'We can afford to invest in Sweden': Reinfeldt
14:53 CEST+02:00
Sweden's parliament officially opened on Tuesday with sombre remembrances, royal reflections, and a promise from Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt that the goverment would "invest in Sweden".

At a church service in connection with the opening of parliament Pastor Niklas Piensoho spoke about the faith placed in the MPs and the importance of looking after the trust that comes with the power.

”Everyone has sinned; in the government offices and in the Royal Court,” Piensoho said in his sermon.

“Character-flaws are democratically endowed upon the Swedish population,” he added, and warned about the dangers of self-importance blinding one from helping others.

“I pray that you will be leaders that create warmth in an ever more complicated society.”

The opening of the parliament began with a speech commemorating three MPs that recently died; Carina Moberg, Johnny Munkhammar and William Petzäll.

“This day is started with a note of sorrow. Three people have been taken from us much too soon," said the speaker of the parliament, Per Westerberg.

The Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf then formally opened parliament after arriving following a formal procession from the royal palace featuring horse-drawn carriages and blue-suited soldiers.

In his speech the king mentioned the two Swedish journalists who arrived back in Sweden last week after being jailed in Ethiopia.

“I want to say that we are sharing the relief of Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson and their families now that they are safely back in Sweden,” the King said.

Prime Minister Reinfeldt then read the government's declaration, starting with Sweden's place in an ever-changing world, with new powers, new technology and new economic structures.

“Computers that previously would fill up several rooms can be carried around in our pockets today,” Reinfeldt said.

Reinfeldt said that Europe will be fighting for years to get out of the slump created by the recent financial crisis, but that the situation is different for Sweden because of the efforts of the current and previous governments.

"Important steps have been taken, but we need to be aware it will take time before the effects are felt," he said.

"In these troubled times, Sweden can therefore choose another road than many other European countries.

Reinfeldt went on to outline another big investment; a 1.5 billion kronor ($228 million) cash injection into the Swedish legal system, making it some 10 billion kronor higher than in 2006.

"It is a big increase of the legal system capacity and we are expecting significantly improved results,” Reinfeldt said.

The prime minister also mentioned a proposition to cut corporate taxes.

"This will provide strong incitement to increase investment into industry, which will lead to an increased productivity, higher salaries and a boost in employment," said Reinfeldt, arguing that the government's employment policies have been effective:

"Employment policies have had an effect, with a higher degree of employment despite a drawn out financial crisis that has affected unemployment. But there are still important challenges ahead."

All Swedes will gain from growth and welfare, according to Reinfeldt.

"We will continue to have ambitious distribution policies," he said and referred to statistics that show Sweden as one of the countries with the narrowest income gaps.

"We can invest in Sweden – in knowledge and development. We can invest in solidarity – in welfare and full employment,” he added.

The Local/rm

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