Greta is among migrants and Swexit
The end of the Scandinavian model, migrants, the rise of the radical right and the environmental struggle of Greta. Sweden towards the vote
The European elections in May are approaching. A crucial appointment for the future of Europe. The traditional center-right and center-left political forces must face the advance of sovereignists, populists and Eurosceptics. Waiting to know the composition of the new European Parliament, explores the geopolitical and economic situation of the single countries on the eve of the vote.
Can a 16-year-old girl become one of the most important political figures in an entire country? The answer, if you look at Sweden, is yes. After the elections of last September 9, the figure of the environmental activist Greta Thunberg established herself, among other things coming from a recent visit to Italy and to the Vatican. Every Friday, Greta presents herself to demonstrate in front of the Riksdag in Stockholm with her student movement Fridays for Future for sustainable development and against climate change. A figure that stands on a political landscape made of so much confusion and where the so-called “Scandinavian model” seems only a memory.
The crisis of the social democrats and the Scandinavian model, the rise of the nationalist right of Akesson, the birth of the environmental movement of Greta Thunberg
Once upon a time the virtues of Scandinavian social democratic politics were magnified, of which Sweden was the most shining example. Equal fiscal policy, high public spending, large welfare programs, high level of education, competitive market with little room for corruption, social inclusion and reception. That time is over. In the elections of September 2018 the Social Democrats achieved the worst election result in their history. The first minist Lovfen managed to form a minority government after several months of cumbersome and contradictory attempts. A government of which the Greens are part and which enjoys the external support of the Liberals and the center Party.
A government, that of Lovfen, which is proving to be rather uncertain about the line to follow. The climate in Sweden has clearly changed in recent years. Sovereignty and anti-migrant rhetoric have also taken root here. Symbolic in this sense is the closure over the past few years of the bridge over the Baltic linking Copenhagen to Malmoe, blocking migrants from Denmark to Sweden. The Swedish Democrats of Jimmie Akesson have made anti-migrant rhetoric their warhorse, finding fertile ground also due to the development of petty crime and organized crime in the suburbs of some Swedish cities.
With Greta the environmentalist theme, the question of migrants and economic data, the overcoming (?) Of Akexon’s Swexit
The environment has become one of the main themes of the Swedish political debate. This is thanks to Greta, named the most influential woman in Sweden for 2019 and a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, a prize that in the Scandinavian country is more than an institution, despite the recent Academy scandals. Greta’s proesta begins in conjunction with the last election, and calls on the government to take climate change more seriously by adopting more incisive policies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. A problem now also felt in Stockholm, after the unusually warm summer of 2018, caused several fires in the forested areas. And if for now the parties can try to go on discussing other topics they will inevitably have to keep in mind the agenda carried out by a movement composed almost entirely by young people.
But the figures of activism in Sweden are not lacking. In addition to Greta, in recent months there has also been much talk of Elin Ersson, a young student who a few months ago blocked the repatriation of a migrant by going to the airport in Gothenburg, buying the ticket of the plane on which he had been sent up and blocking the take-off of the plane for two hours. An example of how the theme of migrants arouse strong feelings in the country. On the one hand the fear, if not hatred, of a part of the population that feels that it has been set aside in recent years and perceives the danger coming from outside. On the other hand, there are those who do not want to give up a model of inclusion and reception but which has shown very contradictory results.
Meanwhile, the economy, although not experiencing an extraordinary moment, is steadily growing around 2%, well above the EU average. However, this growth is driven not only by an expansive monetary policy but also by higher energy costs. Unemployment should fall around 6% in a country that seems to be involved in a general period of uncertainty and search for a new identity. At the moment, the hypothesis of a Swexit seems to be set aside, that is to say Sweden’s exit from the European Union, a hypothesis to which Akesson’s right has always called itself favorable. Akesson, which is part of the so-called “sovereign axis” with the League of Matteo Salvini and the Rassemblement National of Marine Le Pen, seems to have embraced the project of “change from within” of the community institutions, so much so that in the last names its name it circulated as a possible president of the EU Commission after the Juncker in the case of a victory of the sovereign group at the polls in May.
Fear of the Russian threat and mandatory military service, non-alignment with NATO and tensions with China
The key words of Swedish foreign policy are two: active neutrality. That means no official alliances, but an efficient military apparatus. It could not be otherwise given the geographical position of the country, particularly exposed to the Eurasian giant, namely Russia. Sweden, which historically stands as a regional power in Scandinavia, is not a member of NATO but participates in several joint military exercises. A report that has intensified in recent years with the signing of a memorandum of understanding on exercises in Swedish land, increased in number and scope after what happened in 2014 in Crimea.
Following the geopolitical tensions in the Baltic area, Sweden decided to reintroduce mandatory military service in 2017. A sign that the relationship with Russia is at least problematic. In the spring of 2018, a brochure was also circulated giving indications to citizens on how to behave in the event of a war crisis. In recent years, cases of violation of Swedish airspace, as well as that of other Scandinavian countries, by Moscow aviation have multiplied. Military spending, in contrast with the past and with other European countries, has been steadily increasing in recent years. And there are those who have come to hypothesize an entry into NATO that for now remains only a voice.
In any case, relations between Sweden and the United States are profound. Stockholm on the other hand is concerned about the military strengthening of the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad and is one of the countries that defends the EU’s sanctions in Moscow the most. Contrary to what happens in other allied countries, the US must not even fear an excessive proximity between Sweden and China, Washington’s great geopolitical rival. Indeed, relations between Stockholm and Beijing are actually rather tense. To heat the minds, especially in China, we had the case of a Chinese family who had reported being abused by the Swedish police after a fight with the hotel that hosted them, with Beijing accusing Stockholm of “violating rights human. ” But the case that raised the level of diplomatic tension was the recall at home of the Swedish ambassador to China Anna Lindstedt, accused of having tried to organize secret talks between some Chinese entrepreneurs and the daughter of one of the Hong Kong booksellers abducted by Beijing in 2015, the Swedish of Chinese origin Gui Minhai.
EUROPEAN ELECTIONS, SWEDEN: LATEST POLLS
Sweden currently has 20 seats in the European Parliament, which should have become 21 after Brexit. If the United Kingdom were to participate in the European elections, they would remain 20 instead.
- Social Democrats (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats) 27.8%
- Swedish Democrats (European Conservatives and Reformists) 19.2%
- Moderates (EPP) 17.3%
- Left Party (European United Left) 9.5%
- Christian Democrats (EPP) 8.9%
- Center Party (Alde) 8.5%