Sweden: European socialists condemn centre-right and liberals for linking arms with far-right

Sweden: European socialists condemn centre-right and liberals for linking arms with far-right

Pictured from left: Leader of the Sweden Democrats Jimmie Akesson, Leader of the Moderate party Ulf Kristersson, Leader of the Christian Democrats Ebba Busch and Leader of the Liberal party Johan Pehrson address a press conference on the formation of a coalition government in Sweden, Stockholm, Sweden, 14 October 2022. Photo: Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP

The coalition agreement reached in Sweden, where the new EPP-ALDE government of Ulf Kristersson relies on far-right support to hold power, only serves to normalise the extreme-right and undermine the European political project.

PES First Vice-President and S&D Group President Iratxe Garcia Perez said:

“Far-right populist parties, with roots straight down into a fascist past, are now reaching the height of political power. They have managed this thanks to centre-right and liberal enablers. It is clear that defending against the politics of hate and intolerance will be one of our main tasks as socialists and democrats in the coming years. This political family will not abandon that fight. Trumpism must never be allowed to gain a foothold in Europe.

“The progressive movement has always been the main adversary of right-wing extremists, and that is even clearer now. We will always stand up for European values, democracy and the rule of law.”

Addressing the PES Congress in Berlin last week, PES President Stefan Löfven said that social democrats once again had the responsibility to take on far-right forces in Europe. Watch his speech in full.

In Sweden, the influence of the far-right Sweden Democrats – a right-wing party with roots in Nazism – is already clear. On its first day, the new Swedish government has scrapped Sweden’s feminist foreign policy – a world-renowned policy which has helped countless women and girls across the globe – and closed the Sweden’s environment ministry. For the first time in 35 years, Sweden will have no dedicated environment ministry.

In 2014, the social democratic-led government launched a feminist foreign policy. Sweden was the first country in the world to really prioritise equality in this way. Sweden’s feminist foreign policy has resulted in concrete improvements for millions of girls and women: about 20 countries have developed laws and proposals for strengthened equality, hundreds of thousands of women and girls have escaped life-threatening unsafe abortions and unwanted pregnancies, about 90 local communities have stopped female gender mutilation, and 65 countries and organisations have committed to work against gender-related violence.

The new Swedish government brings together the Moderate Party (EPP), Liberals (ALDE) and Christian Democrats (EPP), and relies on far-right Sweden Democrats (ECR) to hold power.

The PES is deeply concerned that traditional European political parties across Europe are going into coalition with the far right, as it was in Italy recently, and now in Sweden not only EPP members but also ALDE members are joining forces with anti-European parties.