Sweden gets three new ministers in government reshuffle

Sweden's parliament officially opened on Tuesday with Prime Minister Stefan Löfven announcing three new ministers.

Sweden gets three new ministers in government reshuffle
Stefan Löfven addressing parliament on Tuesday. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Foreign trade minister and former EU minister Ann Linde will as expected take over as foreign minister after Margot Wallström announced she was leaving the post, Löfven told parliament in his opening speech.

Eva Nordmark, head of Swedish white-collar trade union organization TCO, will become Sweden's new employment minister, replacing Ylva Johansson who is set to become EU commissioner for home affairs.

And Anna Hallberg, former deputy chair of state-owned business investment organization Almi, will replace Linde as trade minister.

Löfven and his new ministers. From left, Anna Hallberg, Ann Linde and Eva Nordmark. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Before announcing the new appointments, Löfven started his speech by vowing to strengthen Sweden's ability to face a changing world and hand over a “sustainable, safe and equal society” to future generations, highlighting global warming, healthcare waiting times and violent crime as some of the challenges.

“Our country – characterized by natural beauty, openness and hardworking people – has enormous opportunities. Only by working together can we realize Sweden's potential,” he told members of parliament.

“We deal with the problems we face together, not each on our own.”

Social Democrat leader Löfven, who returned to government in January this year after a gruelling 131 days of post-election negotiations that ended only after a cross-bloc deal was struck with the centre-liberals, kept returning to the topic of seeking broad consensus across party divides and solving problems together.

READ ALSO: What does Sweden's government deal mean for internationals?

He spoke about Sweden's place in the world and the European Union, underlining his government's commitment to “free, sustainable and fair trade” and saying that Brexit “heightens the need for active and offensive Swedish action in the EU”. He added that he would continue to work to ensure that the UK leaves the EU “in an orderly manner” but said that Sweden was also prepared to face a no-deal Brexit. 

King Carl XVI Gustaf and parliamentary speaker Andreas Norlén arrive in parliament. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

He also addressed the issue of gang crime, singling out a 31-year-old woman who was shot dead in broad daylight in Malmö as a bystander when she was out with her young child – a shooting that shocked Sweden.

“The state can remove hardened criminals from the streets, but stopping the influx of young men to criminal gangs requires efforts by society as a whole. This is emphasized not least by the police. Schools, social services, local businesses and our civic organizations have important roles to play,” said Löfven.

Löfven also spoke of investing more in housing, upgrading the railway, boosting pensions, abolishing the austerity tax and introducing a bank tax to fund defence, creating more jobs and saving the climate.

“Our country will be the world's first fossil-free welfare nation,” he pledged.

Read the full government policy declaration in English here.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Nobel laureate Ernaux warns of ‘ideology of withdrawal’ in Stockholm lecture

Nobel Literature Prize laureate Annie Ernaux warned Wednesday of a dangerous ideology spreading in Europe under the shadow of the war in Ukraine aimed at excluding society's weakest and limiting women's reproductive rights.

Nobel laureate Ernaux warns of 'ideology of withdrawal' in Stockholm lecture

“In Europe, an ideology of withdrawal and closure is on the rise, still concealed by the violence of an imperialist war waged by the dictator at the head of Russia,” Ernaux said in her Nobel lecture in Stockholm ahead of Saturday’s gala prize ceremony.

Ernaux said it was “steadily gaining ground in hitherto democratic countries.”

“Founded on the exclusion of foreigners and immigrants, the abandonment of the economically weak, the surveillance of women’s bodies, this ideology requires a duty of extreme vigilance, for me and all those for whom the value of a human being is always and everywhere the same”, the 82-year-old said.

A feminist icon, Ernaux was awarded this year’s Nobel in October for “the courage and clinical acuity with which she uncovers the roots, estrangements and collective restraints of personal memory”, the jury said.

Her writing is heavily drawn from her personal experiences of class and gender, often casting a critical eye on social structures.

In her lecture, she also touched on the protests in Iran that erupted in mid-September following the death of Mahsa Amini who had been arrested by the Tehran morality police.

Ernaux said she took to writing her personal experiences because “a book can contribute to change” and “enable beings to reimagine themselves”.

“We see it today in the revolt of women who have found the words to disrupt male power and who have risen up, as in Iran, against its most archaic form”.

She noted that growing up as part of the post-war generation, “writers and intellectuals positioned themselves in relation to French politics and became involved in social struggles as a matter of course”.

“In today’s world, where the multiplicity of information sources and the speed at which images flash past condition a form of indifference, to focus on one’s art is a temptation.”

She said she hoped that her Nobel Prize was “a sign of hope for all female writers”, who “have not yet gained legitimacy as producers of written works”.