Green Party approves new Swedish government agreement

The Green Party on Sunday gave its formal backing to a deal struck on Friday that aims to finally end months of political gridlock in Sweden.

Green Party approves new Swedish government agreement
The Green Party's Isabella Lövin and Gustav Fridolin at Sunday's press conference. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT
The party voted overwhelming to support an agreement it struck with the Centre Party, the Liberals and the Social Democrats that would allow Stefan Löfven to stay on as prime minister. 
Green Party spokeswoman Isabella Lövin said that a significant majority of the party’s board approved the deal, which she said represents a “crossroads” for Sweden. 
“Either we allow racism to dictate the conditions or we come together to defend a solidaric and democratic world,” she said. 
Lövin said the four-party agreement would effectively freeze out right-wing and populist forces, an apparent reference to the Sweden Democrats. It was the refusal of The Centre and the Liberals to back a government made up of their centre-right allies with support from the Sweden Democrats that paved the way for Friday’s agreement. 
Green Party spokesman Gustav Fridolin echoed Lövin’s sentiments, saying that the party had worked hard to find a solution in the political centre. 
“While country after country has fallen for right-wing populism, Sweden is choosing a different path,” he said at Sunday’s press conference. 
It is expected that the new government would consist of the Social Democrats and the Green Party, with the Centre Party and the Liberals offering “passive support” by abstaining from Wednesday’s scheduled vote on installing Löfven as prime minister. 
Sweden's system of negative parliamentarianism means a proposed government does not technically need a single vote in its favour to pass; all that is required is that a majority does not vote against it.
With the Green Party’s formal approval, all eyes will now turn to the Liberals, who are expected to make a decision later on Sunday. 
Another open question is how the Left Party will respond to the four-party deal. Even with the votes from the Social Democrats and Green Party, and the Centre and Liberal's abstentions, the suggested government would need Left Party support in order to pass a parliamentary vote.
The four-party agreement explicitly states that the Left Party “will not have influence over the political direction in Sweden during the coming term”. 
The Left Party has not yet publicly stated its position to the proposal.


Sweden Democrats threaten government crisis over biofuels obligation

The far-right Sweden Democrats are threatening to push Sweden's three-party ruling coalition into a political crisis as they fail to reach agreement over how drastically to cut the country's biofuels obligation, a key part in its plan to reduce emissions.

Sweden Democrats threaten government crisis over biofuels obligation

The party is claiming that a pledge in the Tidö Agreement calling for the biofuels obligation, or reduktionsplikt, to be cut to the “lowest EU level”, should mean that the amount of biofuels that must be blended into petrol and diesel and Sweden should be cut to close to zero, rather than to about half the current share, as suggested by ongoing EU negotiations. 

“We are being tough in the negotiations because of the power we have as the biggest party in this bloc,” Oscar Sjöstedt, the party’s finance spokesperson told TV4. “There is going to be a change at the end of the year that is going to be pretty significant and substantial, that I’m 99.9 percent certain about, otherwise we will have a government crisis.” 

The Liberal Party is pushing for a much less severe reduction, perhaps to a little more than half the current level, where 30.5 percent of all petrol and diesel must be biofuel. 

“We have signed up to a temporary reduction in the biofuels obligation, and it’s clear that that is what we are going to do, but zero is not an alternative for us,” the Liberal Party’s leader Johan Pehrson told TV4.

The decision to reduce the amount of biofuel in the mix at Swedish pumps has made it much more difficult for Sweden to meet its targets for emissions reductions, putting pressure on Pehrson’s colleague, Environment Minister Romina Pourmokhtari. 

Next Wednesday, Pourmokhtari will have to defend the extent to which her government’s policies have pushed Sweden away from being able to meet its 2045 target of net zero emissions when the The Swedish Climate Policy Council reports on the country’s progress towards its target.