Sweden in the 2000’s

By | December 28, 2021

At the beginning of the new century, the political debate in Sweden continued to focus on some problems that emerged in the last two decades of the twentieth century: from the reform of the welfare state , which has become imperative due to the increasing costs borne by the state, to the rethinking of traditional models of citizenship, weakened by the advent of a multicultural society, in search of a sustainable energy supply system, prompted by the increasingly acute awareness of the economic and environmental damage caused by dependence on fossil fuels. Equally urgent, in the opinion of national public opinion, also appeared the issues related to foreign policy: from the dilemma over greater integration of the country into the EU to the reconsideration of the traditional status of neutrality.

After the political elections of September 1998, which marked the worst result since the late 1920s (36.6 % of the votes) for the ruling Social Democratic Party ( Sveriges Socialdemokratiska Arbetareparti , SAP), a coalition executive was formed between SAP, Verdi ( Miljöpartiet de Gröna , MP) and the former Communists of the Left Party ( Vänsterpartiet , VP), also led by the Social Democratic leader G. Persson, who came to power in March 1996. The premier launched a program to reduce income taxes, reduce military spending and increase investments in health, education and social assistance. These choices favored a reappointment of the Social Democrats in government. In fact, in the political elections of September 2002, SAP obtained 39.8 % of the votes, winning 144 parliamentary seats out of 349. A Social Democratic minority government was then formed, always chaired by Persson and supported by the Greens and the Left Party. As soon as he took office, the premier called for September 2003a referendum on the adoption of the euro. A very controversial issue, which divided political parties and public opinion since the inception of the single currency. After the government gave up participating in the first phase of the European Monetary Union (June 1997), SAP had officially taken a position in favor of monetary integration, although some ministers and party leaders were against it. Similar divisions, moreover, also emerged among the opposition parties, in particular among the moderates ( Moderata Samlingspartiet , MS), lined up in support of the euro despite some significant defections. For Sweden 2000, please check neovideogames.com.

On the other hand, the Greens, the Left Party and a large part of the trade union world were opposed to the adoption of the single currency. Four days before the vote, the murder of the foreign minister, A. Lindh, one of the most active supporters of monetary integration, stabbed in a Stockholm shopping center by a 25-year-old Swedish man contributed to further fueling attention on the referendum. Serbian origin. In the wake of this crime, in a climate of great emotion, 81.2 % of the voters went to the polls but rejected by a large majority (56.1 % against 41.8 %, 2.1% null) membership of the single European currency. A result, the latter, interpreted by many observers as a signal of the spread of a growing mistrust towards the EU, but in part contradicted by the subsequent decision of the Parliament to reject a government proposal in favor of temporary restrictions on access to the market. work and the welfare system by immigrants from countries that became members of the EU in 2004. The difficulties for the Social Democratic government were amplified by the subsequent defeat suffered in the European elections of June 2004: SAP, in fact, obtained only 24.7 % of the votes, the lowest percentage since 1912. Particularly positive results, on the other hand, were recorded by the moderates with 18.2 % and Junilistan (a formation founded only four months before the vote with the aim of countering greater integration of the country into the EU), which managed to conquer 14.4 %. Faced with these signs of erosion of consensus, Persson promoted a reorganization of the government in October as a prerequisite for his more incisive action. Among the new initiatives was the announcement of a program to transform Sweden by 2020 into the first country in the world to give up oil as an energy source without building new nuclear power plants (February 2006). Furthermore, for the latter, in accordance with the result of the 1980 referendum, the definitive closure was planned for 2010. In March 2006, however, the government suffered a new blow: the foreign minister, L. Freivalds, was forced to resign because she was accused of violating freedom of expression by closing the website of a far-right newspaper that had published caricatures of Muhammad considered offensive by the Islamic community. In the political elections of September 2006, a center-right coalition led by the leader of the moderates, F. Reinfeldt, won 48.3% of the votes and 178 seats outnumbering the center-left coalition led by Persson, which obtained 46.1 % and 171 seats. In October, Reinfeldt became prime minister and announced welfare state reform and tax cuts as a priority.

As far as foreign policy is concerned, the reduction in military spending favored a new reflection on the country’s international role. In November 2000 Persson raised some doubts about the significance of neutrality in a world that is no longer bipolar, but ruled out a future entry of the Sweden into NATO. In this period, Swedish diplomacy continued to stand out above all for its traditional activity of mediation and humanitarian assistance in international conflicts. At the beginning of 2003, even before the start of the war in Irāq, Stockholm expressed its opposition to the Anglo-American military intervention, but later participated in the allocation of funds for the reconstruction of the country.

Sweden in the 2000's