A pirate, an old biddy, a fish-lover and a lieutenant walk into a Brussels bar... except they wouldn't, as they're all enemies. With elections just days away, The Local looks at Sweden's ten main contenders for a seat in the European Parliament.
(In alphabetical order after the parties' Swedish names)
Centre Party (Centerpartiet)
Top candidate: Kent Johansson
The party has always had close ties to rural Sweden and environmental issues, and was founded over 100 years ago as the Farmers' League (Bondeförbundet). It joined a coalition in 2006 to succesfully dethrone the Social Democrats. They have an EU policy platform available
and promise "a leaner and sharper EU". In Brussels, they are part of the liberal group in parliament.
- No to the euro
- No to EU micromanagement.
- Yes to the EU doing fewer things "but doing them better"
- Yes to investing in green tech as a way out of the economic crisis
Feminist Initiative (Feministiskt initiativ)
Top candidate: Soraya Post
The party that has surprised some, delighted others with its steady climb in the polls and hopes to send Sweden's only Roma candidate to Brussels. Their slogan is the feisty "Out with the racists, in with the feminists". It argues that feminism is applicable to all attempts to break up unequal representation and a tool to combat discrimination. "We challenge the image of Sweden and Europe as the paradise of gender equality," the party writes in English.
" This is a false image that diminishes the existing problems and stands in the way of genuine change."
- Yes to open borders - "everyone has a right to safety"
- No to militarization and weapons exports
- No to men's violence, trafficking, prostitution
- Yes to prioritizing gender equality
Liberal Party (Folkpartiet)
Top candidate: Marit Paulsen
Part of the governing Alliance, the Liberals are Sweden's fourth largest party and boast three seats in the European Parliament. They are, as the name suggests, Liberals. But they have thrown in their lot with the Alliance, which is dominated by the Moderates further to the right. You can read their EU goals PDF in English on this page
. The party is also a strong advocate for the euro, making it a bit of a loner on that issue on the Swedish political landscape. Paulsen refers to herself as an old biddy (tant) on her election posters.
- Yes to a "European FBI"
- Yes to finding ways to adapt to climate change
- Yes to a net zero carbon footprint
- Yes to a closer look at human rights
Christian Democrats (Kristdemokraterna)
Top candidate: Lars Adaktusson
Another small party in the Alliance. One EU seat. With roots in the free-church movement, the party morphed into a movement focusing on the inalienable rights of the individual but also on promoting family values.They say members needn't be religious to join. Since joining the coalition government it has tried to carve out a role in social affairs, focusing on pensioners' rights and policies to allow parents to stay home with their kids. Top candidate Adaktusson is a former reporter - a "stubborn reporter" the campaign posters say.
- Yes to EU putting human rights on centre stage
- Yes to ditching Europe's reliance on Russian energy
- Yes to a free trade agreement between the EU and the US
- No to the EU meddling in member country's social security systems, such as parental leave
Green Party (Miljöpartiet)
Top candidate: Isabella Lövin
The Green party tried to topple the government in 2010 by joining forces with the Social Democrats and the Left Party, but the coalition failed at the polls. Instead, the Greens cut a deal with the Alliance to co-legislate in migration policy, in order to keep the Sweden Democrats at arms length from new arrivals to Sweden. Their top candidate and incumbent MEP is a former environmental journalist most famous for crafty alliance-building in Brussels to finally cap fishing quotas.
- Yes to fighting climate change
- No to mass surveillance
- Yes to greater insight into the EU's decision-making process
- Yes to recycling and collective transport
The Moderates (Moderaterna)
Top candidate: Gunnar Hökmark
The Moderates have been in power in Sweden since 2006 in part thanks to tacking to the centre, partly thanks to tax cuts and in part due to teaming up with The Liberals (Folkpartiet), the Centre Party, and the Christian Democrats - a unified front to break up decades of Social Democrat dominance. A pro free-market party that has put all its rhetorical focus on jobs, and has dubbed its opposition the social-benefits party. They currently have four seats in the European Parliament. Top candidate Hökmark studied business, reached as high as lieutenant in Sweden's armed forces, and currently sits in the European Parliament.
- Yes to making sure the free movement of goods, labour, and services works
- No to EU taxes
- Yes to a a banking law to protect taxpayer money
- Yes to more careful monitoring of the EU's financial frameworks
The Pirate Party (Piratpartiet)
Top candidate: Christian Engström
The Pirates performed pitifully in domestic elections (they have no Riksdag seats) but managed to pick up two seats in the European parliament in 2009 - although polls suggest they will lose one of them on Sunday. While file-sharing was their philosophical petri dish, the relative newcomers have turned into defenders of net freedom and strong civil liberties.
- No to mass surveillance
- Yes to legalizing file sharing
- Yes to a free internet
Social Democrats (Socialdemokraterna)
Top candidate: Marita Ulvskog
The workers party that dominated post-war Sweden until the 1990s. Short-lived leaderships by Mona Sahlin then Håkan Juholt after their disastrous election in 2006 left the party in the poll doldrums. And it remained there until Metal Union heavyweight Stefan Löfven, who is not an MP, was persuaded to take over. The party has climbed steadily in the polls ever since. It has seats in Brussels. Their lead candidate Marita Ulvskog, who was previously a government minister, is on the left of the party.
- Yes to foreign workers having the same pay and conditions in Sweden that Swedes do
- No to worse work-place conditions
- Yes to combating tax avoidance and evasion
- Yes to board-room quotas for men and women
Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna)
Top candidate: Kristina Winberg
For the first time, the Sweden Democrats are taking aim at Brussels. At home, it got 5.7 percent of the public's votes in 2010. The party's slogan is "The Sweden-friendly party" and "Security and tradition". They are fundamentally against Swedish membership to the EU, which it says has undermined Swedes' ability to influence policy-making. SD only offers their policies for the EU in Swedish
. The party has pointed out that its candidates are "normal people". Neither candidate has studied past high school.
- No to European federalism
- No to centralized support systems, such as the common agricultural policy (CAP)
- Yes to a "democracy commission" to look into whether the EU has curtailed citizens' influence
- Yes to putting Swedish membership to a new referendum
Left Party (Vänsterpartiet)
Top candidate: Malin Björk
The most left-wing party in the Swedish parliament, the Leftists want to protect public assets and welfare - in the EU too. Their battle cry is "Not for sale", a reference to the privatization wave in Sweden but also across Europe. Top candidate Malin Björk calls the European Union clumsy and undemocratic.
- Yes to a more generous refugee policy
- Yes to a EU strategy to combat violence against women
- No to wage-dumping
- No to the current proposed version of the EU-US free trade deal