• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
'Sweden's 200 years of peace is no coincidence'
Foreign Minister Margot Wallström on Wednesday. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

'Sweden's 200 years of peace is no coincidence'

TT/The Local · 24 Feb 2016, 15:05

Published: 24 Feb 2016 11:05 GMT+01:00
Updated: 24 Feb 2016 15:05 GMT+01:00

"Sweden will not remain passive if a disaster or an attack would hit another EU country or a Nordic nation. We expect these countries to act the same way if Sweden is affected," Wallström reiterated to parliament as she presented her foreign policy targets for 2016.

Despite traditionally pushing a policy of military non-alignment, Sweden's ruling centre-left Social Democrat-Green government has been moving closer to Nato in the past year, amid growing fear of what is perceived as an increasingly aggressive Russia.

But opposition politicians hoping for a U-turn on Nato membership were left disappointed on Wednesday, and hit out at Wallström in the debate following her speech.

"What makes it so difficult to even discuss it? It would increase Sweden's security," asked Karin Engström representing the Moderates, the biggest centre-right party in parliament.

Members of the Centre Party, its colleague in the right-wing Alliance, questioned how Sweden's decision not to join the military organization contributes to security in Europe.

"We could recently celebrate 200 years of peace and that's no coincidence. It's the result of wise policies and freedom from alliances," countered Wallström.

In her speech, the outspoken minister also argued that in light of the refugee crisis, a stronger EU was ever-more important, addressing directly the UK's upcoming referendum on exiting the union.

"Internal division must be countered. It is vital that Great Britain remains in the union."

INTERVIEW: Wallström speaks to The Local about Brexit

She also addressed Sweden's candidacy for a place on the UN Security Council in 2017-2018, saying it would not stray from its feminist foreign policy to protect human rights.

Sweden will appoint a special 'human rights ambassador' and a 'disarmament ambassador' to campaign on human rights and non-proliferation, she said.

Story continues below…

Wallström went on to urge other EU countries to "take their responsibility" in accepting a larger share of refugees fleeing wars in the Middle East and Africa, saying: "We can't have a situation where some countries buy blankets and others invest in barbed wire."

Sweden took in more than 163,000 asylum seekers last year, the most per capita in Europe, but it has been struggling to provide accommodation for the record-influx.

In a separate move on Wednesday, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven tasked his Labour Minister Ylva Johansson with overseeing integration for new arrivals in the country.

"We face very serious challenges and it's important that the state is as effective as possible and that all pieces of the puzzle fall into place. That's my mission," said Johansson.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Sweden advised to bring conscription back in 2018
Bringing back the draft could help a stretched military, a government inquiry says. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Young men and women could be made to fill in questionnaires for recruitment to the Armed Forces as early as next year, according to a new proposal.

Nationalists suspend aide after Russia propaganda claim
The suspended aide is a political secretary to SD member of parliament Kent Ekeroth. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

His suspension comes only days after another of the party's political secretaries resigned amid controversy over a property deal in Russia.

Presented by Lernia
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Photo: Lernia

Struggling to learn Swedish? There are a few ways to make it easier. Here are seven tips from the experts.

Here's how much Sweden's highest-earning authors make
It was a good year for the likes of Jonas Jonasson (left) and Camilla Läckberg (right). Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT & Henrik Montgomery/TT

From Nordic Noir to a hundred-year-old man (and one called Ove), Sweden's authors had a good year in 2015.

Sweden named world's sixth most competitive country
The good news also came with some caveats. Photo: Izabelle Nordfjell/TT

The country moved up three places in the top ten of the latest edition of the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index.

The Swedish celebs you really should not google
'Oh no, don't tell me I just clicked on THAT link.' Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

These are the world's most dangerous viral Swedish celebrities, according to a new report.

Furious elk mum attacks Swede, breaks his arm
You talkin' to me? Photo: Mikael Fritzon/TT

It came back and attacked him not once, but twice.

Report: Stockholm is at risk of a housing bubble
Apartments in Stockholm. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

Stockholmers are the third most likely to experience a housing bubble in their city, according to an international ranking.

The Local List
Reverse culture shock: the troubles of leaving Sweden
Does it get more Swedish than this? Photo: Emelie Asplund/imagebank.sweden.se

Why is that stranger talking to me in the elevator?!

Police close Facebook thread after call for help derails
A file photo of police cars on Gotland not related to the article. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

The Gotland Police Facebook post asking the public for information about an unprovoked attack on two boys had to be closed because the comments section spiraled out of control.

Sponsored Article
Expat finances in Sweden: the Common Reporting Standard
National
Aliens' sex lives? Why Swedes want Nasa to send a condom into space
Sponsored Article
Let's Talk: a personal Swedish language tutor in your pocket
Analysis & Opinion
'If Sweden really wants startups, drop the red tape on migration'
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
Blog updates

27 September

Cutting your nose …. (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Last week, Jeremy Browne, the Special Representative for the City of London, visited Sweden. Jeremy was…" READ »

 

7 September

Svensk or svenska? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! My inbox is full of questions :-). Here’s one about when to use “svensk” and…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
‘I view the world in a different way now’
National
Trump an 'embarrassment' Springsteen tells Sweden
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Gallery
People-watching: September 23rd-25th
Politics
Russian Sweden Democrat aide resigns over suspect deal
National
Muslim teacher leaves job after not shaking male colleague's hand
Sponsored Article
'Creating a sense of home': Collective living in Stockholm
Travel
Why we adore autumn in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Gallery
People-watching: September 21st
National
Stockholmers hunt killer badger after attack on neighbourhood hipster cat
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Six key points in Sweden's budget plan
The Local Voices
How a Swedish name finally made recruiters notice this Iranian's CV
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Gallery
Property of the week: Luleå
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Gallery
People-watching: September 16th-18th
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Culture
Why Swedish TV has given these kids' trucks a sex swap
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
National
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden’s ’a-kassa’
Gallery
People-watching: September 14th
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Politics
Why Sweden is putting troops on holiday dream island Gotland
The Local Voices
'What I mean when I say: I came here to blow myself up'
Society
VIDEO: Are Swedes that unfriendly?
Features
INTERVIEW: How Arthur the jungle dog opened hearts and minds
Gallery
Property of the week: Smögen, Västra Götaland
Society
Sweden's ancient forest tongue Elfdalian fights for survival
National
Where Sweden's foreigners are from
The Local Voices
'Whenever I apply for jobs I’m treated like an unwanted stranger'
The Local Voices
Is Swedish bosses' ignorance keeping refugees out of jobs?
2,960
jobs available