Connect with us

World

Swedish PM warns of nationalist surge as EU elections loom

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

Swedish PM warns of nationalist surge as EU elections loom | Thaiger
image
image

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Swedish PM warns of nationalist surge as EU elections loom
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Europe’s failure to deliver economic growth and jobs has frayed public trust in democracy and fostered a nationalist climate that could reward anti-immigration, Eurosceptical parties in May’s EU elections, Sweden’s prime minister said on Thursday.

Fredrik Reinfeldt also saw nationalism shaping Russia’s actions in Ukraine, which he said was creating “instability”, but despite such concerns he said Sweden was unlikely to abandon its formal neutrality and join NATO any time soon.

“(The economic crisis) has weakened the forces of integration or standing up for this European ideal,” he said in an interview in which he also invoked the destructive nationalism that tore Europe apart 100 years ago this summer with the outbreak of World War One.

“The kind of (nationalist) thinking behind that, which has been a problem in Europe for hundreds of years … is very much the same kind of thinking you see Russia now doing in Ukraine or you will see in many forces throughout Europe,” Reinfeldt said.

Citizens in the 28 European Union countries vote on May 22-25 for 751 members of the European Parliament. Opinion polls suggest an influx of between 150 to 200 Eurosceptical politicians bent on reversing decades of EU integration.

Parties campaigning to limit immigration are expected to do well in France, Britain and elsewhere. At the national level, rightist, populist parties are now some of the biggest political forces in the traditionally liberal, tolerant Nordic region.

DISTRUST

“In Sweden there is a still a sense of trust between politicians and people. In many other countries there is a clear distrust,” said Reinfeldt, head of Sweden’s centre-right Moderates who have been in power for eight years.

“That is very easily replaced by a call for the strong man or for someone to take decisions,” he said, adding that the best antidote was for politicians to embrace reforms aimed at making their economies globally competitive.

Reinfeldt has pushed through market reforms in Sweden during his two terms in power, cutting income taxes and trimming one of Europe’s most extensive welfare states, though his party is tipped to lose power to the centre-left in this year’s election.

Reinfeldt’s time in government has also seen the rise of the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats party, which could hold the balance of power after the September election, polls suggest.

Reinfeldt said Russia’s behaviour in the Ukraine crisis would damage Moscow most, leaving it internationally isolated.

“It creates instability, insecurity … So what will be the reaction? Increased defence spending, increased awareness and nervousness towards the acts of Russia, a more politically isolated Russia, possibly more economically isolated.”

While Sweden has talked of a “doctrinal shift” in defence policy and both the government and the leading opposition party have pledged to increase defence spending, Reinfeldt said the political obstacles to Sweden’s NATO entry were too large to surmount, despite his own party’s wish to join.

Polls show a clear majority of Swedes oppose joining NATO.

On the economy, Reinfeldt said the era of tax cuts was over.

“We are very competitive, very effective now … What now lies ahead is bringing back the public finances to a surplus and that is not possible to combine with hugely costly reforms.”

The government has already outlined a limited increase in taxes if it wins re-election and Reinfeldt would not rule out further rises in some duties.

“It might be necessary, I’m not saying absolutely no to that,” he said.

Asked about the opposition Social Democrats’ lead in opinion polls of 10 to 15 percentage points, Reinfeldt said: “We are clearly behind, it will be tough.”

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forum
🔔 Subscribe to our daily newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Media16 hours ago

No sex please, we’re Thai

Events17 hours ago

An aquatic meal with Olga Belka – taking art to new depths

Transport21 hours ago

Hua Lamphong (Bangkok Train Station) – History and future | VIDEO

Sponsored3 days ago

CBRE recommends top 5 luxury condominiums in Phuket with fantastic locations

imageimage
Thailand21 hours ago

Bug-eating challenge with Natty, feat. Mark Abbott | VIDEO

Coronavirus (Covid-19)22 hours ago

UPDATE: Israel bans ALL foreign entry over Omicron

Thailand1 day ago

New variant could dampen Thailand’s reopening enthusiasm

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 day ago

UPDATE: Latest news on Omicron – what we know

Tourism2 days ago

Songkhla prepares for tourism across the Southern land border

Thailand2 days ago

French expat being denied re-entry to Thailand over repeated criticism of the Thai monarchy

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 days ago

COVID-19 SATURDAY: 6,073 infections, 32 deaths, provincial data

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 days ago

Omicron causing concern, Thai authorities ban travellers from 8 countries

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 days ago

Thailand’s nightlife venues and bars told to keep closed until January 16

Protests2 days ago

Amnesty International under investigation for defending activists

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 days ago

New Covid-19 strain named “Omicron” and a variant of concern

Thailand2 days ago

CCSA sticks with plan to reopen bars on January 16

Thailand3 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism9 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism9 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism9 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending