PES praises Andersson for progressive leadership in Sweden, warns EPP against far-right partnerships

Magdalena Andersson, Sergei Stanishev

Magdalena Andersson, Sergei Stanishev

European socialists warn EPP against becoming enablers to far-right power grabs in Sweden and Italy

The Party of European Socialists (PES) congratulates Magdalena Andersson and the Swedish Social Democrats (SAP) – a full member party of the PES – on their first-place position at the general election held on Sunday.

SAP finished as the largest party, with 107 seats – an increase of seven members – in the 349-seat Swedish Riksdag. Despite SAP’s strong result, overall the ‘left bloc’ – comprising progressive and green parties – secured just under half of the seats. The result means the ‘right bloc’ – with the nationalist populist Sweden Democrats as the largest party – is expected to attempt to form the next government.

The PES commends Andersson – Sweden’s first female prime minister – for her leadership and courage as she led Sweden’s recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, worked to protect citizens from the cost-of-living crisis, and took the historic step to begin Sweden’s accession to NATO.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“Magdalena and the Social Democrats should be very proud of their strong election result. As prime minister, Magdalena took some truly historic steps and it is deeply disappointing that this work may now not continue. As she steps down as prime minister, the PES sends its sincere thanks to her for everything she has done.

Addressing the rise in the far-right, Stanishev added:

“We see what happened in Sweden. We are seeing what is happening in Italy. As democrats, we cannot stay silent on the rise of the far-right.

“We must not ignore what the EPP is doing. That the centre-right would align with this type of politics contradicts any claim that it is part of the democratic majority in Europe. To form partnerships like this just to get into power, it threatens our shared values and the future of the European project.

“The PES joins democrats across Europe in expressing our worries that the EPP is becoming an enabler to far-right power grabs. Citizens can count on progressives to fight tooth and nail to stop any far-right force coming to power.”

The Sweden Democrats party has worked hard to decontaminate its image, but its roots in white nationalism and fascism are clear. In Sweden, the EPP member Moderates party has said it is open to co-operating with the ECR member Sweden Democrats, breaking the cordon sanitaire placed around the far-right party for the last decade.

Similarly, in Italy the EPP member Forza Italia is actively campaigning in a right bloc with the far-right ECR member Brothers of Italy, and the far-right ID member Lega party. PES Secretary General Achim Post, as well as other progressives, have strongly criticised the EPP for campaigning with the far-right in Italy.