Swedish Liberals face expulsion from EU's liberal party group

TT/The Local
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Swedish Liberals face expulsion from EU's liberal party group
Liberal Party leader and Sweden's Employment and Integration Minister Johan Pehrson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The Liberal Party's colleagues in Renew Europe, the EU parliament's liberal party group, are considering excluding the Swedish party from their group due to their cooperation with the Sweden Democrats.


"The Swedish situation is not satisfactory - that's the least you can say," the leader of the group, French MEP Stéphane Séjourné said in a press briefing in Strasbourg.

Discussions are now ongoing in the Renew Europe group (RE) as to whether there is sufficient reason to expel the Liberals and their MEP Karin Karlsbro.

At a meeting in Brussels in his new role as Sweden's Employment Minister, Liberal leader Johan Pehrson described it as "unthinkable" that his party colleague Karlsbro could be forced to leave the group, adding that his party "takes the criticism seriously".

However, Pehrson stated that he has attempted to explain the situation to his liberal colleagues in Europe.

"I'm trying to explain what an exceptionally strong document we've produced, in the form of a governing document which shows meaningful liberal reforms in Sweden - but that means less migration. That's also true," he told TT newswire and public broadcaster Sveriges Radio in Brussels.

Despite defending Karlsbro and the Liberals' place in the EU group, Pehrson also referenced the fact that his party is not the first in the EU's liberal party group to work alongside parties like the Sweden Democrats.


"Other parties in our party group have previously worked alongside parties which aren't exactly liberal," Pehrson said.

For example, the Finnish Centre Party has previously worked together with the far-right True Finns, and the Danish Liberals have governed with the support of the Danish People's Party. The Dutch People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) did the same with the support of Geert Wilders' right-wing nationalist Party for Freedom (PVV).

"The Liberals have been solid members of RE as long as it has existed, but also of [European liberal party organisation] Alde for decades, and we will continue to do so," he told reporters in Brussels.


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