'Vive les clichés!': Swedish PM mocked for Macron welcome

Richard Orange
Richard Orange - [email protected]
'Vive les clichés!': Swedish PM mocked for Macron welcome
Ulf Kristersson shakes hands with Emmanuel Macron during a visit to France in January 2023. Photo: Francois Mori/AP/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister has been gently ridiculed by the correspondent for France's biggest newspaper after he posted a light-hearted welcome message to France's President Emmanuel Macron.


'"Vive les clichés!" ("long live the clichés!"), wrote Le Monde's Swedish correspondent Anne-Francoise Hivert as she reposted the Instagram message from Sweden's prime minister, Ulf Kristersson on X.

She wasn't the only one to raise an eyebrow at the video.

"Oh God, how ridiculous!!! For Christ's sake pull yourself together," one commentator wrote under the post on Kristersson's Instagram account, which also had a handful of comments praising Kristersson for his humour.

"Please, tell me this video has been created by AI," wrote another. 

"Are you a prime minister or an influencer? Time for the skämskudde [literally a 'cringe pillow', used for hiding behind when someone does something embarrassing]," wrote a third.

Macron himself was more polite.

"Dear Ulf, tack för informationen. I arrive well-prepared, warmly dressed! Looking forward to sharing a fika!" he wrote. 

Macron is due to visit Sweden on Tuesday and Wednesday for a packed visit which will see him greeted by Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia at the Royal Palace in Stockholm, meet Kristersson, and visit the European Spallation Source in Lund. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Ulf Kristersson (@kristerssonulf)

"Dear President Macron, I am so looking forward to welcoming you to Sweden," Kristersson begins in the post. "But first let me introduce you to some Swedish things and behaviours."

He then runs the full gamut of Swedish clichés, briefing Macron on Swedishness in much the same way as a socially awkward middle-aged Swede might do with a foreign prospective son- or daughter-in-law. 

"In Sweden, we have a saying that goes 'det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläder'. There is no bad weather, only bad clothing. You will hear this if you start complaining about the snow," he says, seeming to forget that France is home to the Alps, which have their fair share of the white stuff.

"We also have this very important thing called fika. If you try to skip this opportunity to sit down and have some coffee and a kanelbulle, there will be serious consequences."  

"And lastly, we love to stand in line. If you try to jump the queue, tränger dig, we will be very angry but still stay silent. We might write you an arg lapp - an angry note. Swedes do not like to make a scene in public."  


Was this some sort of diplomatic code or a genuine attempt at a humourous greeting? Who knows?

At any rate, it contrasted somewhat with the ceremonial tone of the message posted on X by the French embassy in Stockholm, which ran through the history of French state visits to Sweden, beginning with that of President Raymond Poincaré in 2014, following with that of President François Mitterrand in 1984, and ending with that of Jacques Chirac in 2000. 


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