Sweden a 'humanitarian super power': Bildt
13 Feb 2013, 08:55
Published: 13 Feb 2013 08:55 GMT+01:00
David Landes, 11.40am
While the debate continues, we're going to wrap up the live blog. Stay tuned to the site for some additional reporting on what was said in the Riksdag today.
David Landes, 10.56am
It seems the current horsemeat scandal made its way into the foreign policy debate when Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) foreign policy spokesman Fredrik Malm said the foreign policy of the red-green opposition parties was like "frozen lasagne".
"Nice on the outside, but you never know what's inside."
Malm also said Swedes need to understand that issue of refugees constitute a permanent, rather than temporary, issue.
He also followed party leader Jan Björklund's comments earlier in the week calling for an increase in defence spending, and also called for Sweden to join Nato, a long-standing Liberal party wish.
David Landes, 10.29am
Bildt said he's in favour of a strong national defence that also participates in international peace operations. Sweden's defenc policy has been a hot topic of debate in recent weeks following comments by the country's top military commander that Sweden could only defend itself for a week if attacked.
Bildt also too a jab at the Sweden Democrats, saying they "want to hold the world out of Sweden and Sweden out of the world".
David Landes, 10.24am
Bildt back at the podium responding to other speakers. He took issue with Ahlin's claims that the Sweden isn't fully engaged at the UN.
He called the United Nations an important institution for Swedish foreign policy and that, if anything, Sweden has been critical of the UN Security Council.
"Sweden's values are more important than sitting in an intentional body," said Bildt, in commenting on Sweden's failure to get voted into the UN Human Rights Council last year.
David Landes, 10.20am
The Left Party's Hans Linde criticized the government's foreign policy for helping the powerful at the expense of the powerless.
He also lamented Swedish companies' role in "plundering" the world's poor, saying the government invests in firms that contribute to poverty.
Linde also questioned why Sweden would devote 15 billion kronor in taxpayer money to conduct trade with Iran before calling for a "new economic world order".
David Landes, 10.15am
Julia Kronlid of the Sweden Democrats accused Sweden of having into an "EU-friendly slumber" and argued that Swedes should also be awarded the chance to express their views on EU membership in the way Britons will be able to do following Prime Minister David Cameron's promise of a referendum.
She also said it was regrettable that the government wanted to give recognize a Palestinian state.
David Landes, 10.07am
Incidentally, the Green Party on Wednesday reported Foreign Aid Minister Gunilla Carlsson to the Riksdag's Constitutional Committee for the way in which Swedish foreign aid funds are managed.
They cite a 2010 report showing that the foreign ministry lacks procedures for managing its own aid projects, and want the committee to see if the ministry has acted in accordance with current regulations.
David Landes, 9.59am
Next up is Bodil Ceballos of the Green Party. Unsurprisingly, she argues that Sweden needs to be a leader in climate and environment issues.
She also brought up Sweden's weapons exports, arguing that states that choose to buy weapons instead of helping their populations shouldn't be a priority.
David Landes, 9.50am
"Sweden must recognize a Palestinian state" the Social Democrats demand, according to Ahlin.
David Landes, 9.45am
Ahlin thinks that the United Nations doesn't receive enough attention in the government's foreign policy. He thinks Sweden's UN engagement is "poor".
David Landes, 9.41am
Urban Ahlin says he welcomes the fact that Swedish foreign policy begins at home an in the Nordic region.
David Landes, 9.37am
So, Bild't speech is over. You can read it in its entirety (in Swedish) by
Now Social Democrat foreign policy spokesman Urban Ahlin has the floor.
Live tweets of Carl Bildt's speech
Efforts continue to bring about the release of Swedish-Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaak #SweFP— Swedish MFA (@SweMFA) February 13, 2013
The climate issue is high on our agenda #SweFP— Swedish MFA (@SweMFA) February 13, 2013
We support our globalised business sector. That’s why there is a new organisation: Business Sweden the Swedish Trade & Invest Council #SweFP— Swedish MFA (@SweMFA) February 13, 2013
We share in the responsibility for Europe’s security #SweFP— Swedish MFA (@SweMFA) February 13, 2013
Sweden has a long-term commitment in Afghanistan, we are allocating SEK 8.5 billion over next ten years #SweFP— Swedish MFA (@SweMFA) February 13, 2013
Our relations with China continue to develop at a rapid pace #SweFP— Swedish MFA (@SweMFA) February 13, 2013
Sweden is pushing to initiate free trade agreement negotiations between the EU & the USA in 2013 #SweFP— Swedish MFA (@SweMFA) February 13, 2013
The USA is the EU’s principal strategic partner #SweFP— Swedish MFA (@SweMFA) February 13, 2013
The civil war in Syria needs a political solution #SweFP— Swedish MFA (@SweMFA) February 13, 2013
The door to the EU must remain open to all European democracies that can and want to join #SweFP— Swedish MFA (@SweMFA) February 13, 2013
David Landes, 9.07am
The Local's Ann Törnkvist is live tweeting Bildt's speech. Follow Ann on Twitter here.
David Landes, 8.55am
Things are just about to get underway in the Riksdag, with Foreign Minister kicking things off with his annual declaration of Swedish foreign policy.
You can watch it live (in Swedish) by clicking here.