Magdalena Andersson (S): The government has gone further than the agreement with Turkey requires

Magdalena Andersson (S): The government has gone further than the agreement with Turkey requires

Social Democrats party leader Magdalena Andersson is interviewed about the NATO process, what the Social Democrats want with nuclear power and what she wants to do in the meantime in opposition.

This week, Turkish President Erdoğan said that Sweden should not expect Turkey’s support with the NATO application, after first a doll representing Erdoğan was hung and after Rasmus Paludan burned the Koran at the Turkish embassy in Stockholm last Saturday. There have also been protests against Sweden in parts of the Muslim world and calls for a boycott of Swedish goods. How does Social Democrats party leader Magdalena Andersson view the government’s handling of the NATO process?

– I still want to start by saying that we are in a very, very serious situation in Sweden, both with Turkey’s reaction and also with the call for a boycott that exists. It’s a tense mood right now and many people in Sweden are worried. I think it is important to underline the fact that 28 out of 30 NATO countries have ratified our NATO application, we have security insurance from the major NATO countries and I worked very hard to ensure that when I was prime minister, says Magdalena Andersson .

Having said that, what do you think of how the government has handled this?

– I think it is very good that the government has continued to work with the agreement that we made between Turkey, Finland and Sweden that we made at the NATO summit in Madrid this summer.

– But now we have a very, very difficult situation and it is not unproblematic that we have an open war of words between the governing parties and the Sweden Democrats, who also sit in the inner cabinet. And that’s why I also said this week that I think Ulf Kristersson should really think through whether the Sweden Democrats are the right party to lean on in this situation. To me, it is not obvious that the Sweden Democrats have acted with Sweden’s best interests in mind this week, but there has certainly been a certain amount of party tactics in their actions.

A year ago, when you started the NATO application, you were in a situation where your partner, the Green Party, and the Left Party on your side were against NATO membership, and there were also people waving the PKK flag, is there any difference between that and the current government’s collaboration with the Sweden Democrats?

– I can state that in June, with the government background we had at the time, we achieved the great success in Madrid with this agreement which made us reach invitee-status.

Some think that the government has been too evasive towards Turkey, and has not stood up for freedom of expression enough, for example when Ulf Kristersson condemned the puppet protest and said it was sabotage against Sweden’s NATO process. Do you think the government has bowed too much to Turkey?

– It is a very difficult situation. It is important that we have good and close cooperation with Turkey in this situation. After all, the government has made a number of statements in addition to the agreement that we concluded in Madrid, and it is a choice that this government has made that I can state, unfortunately, did not have the effect that one might wish.

What are you thinking then?

– Partly because Tobias Billström said so clearly that Turkey is a democracy and also distanced himself from Turkish organisations. Then, on the other hand, one of the four in the inner cabinet has said that Erdoğan is a Muslim dictator, so that…

How do you see Turkey then, is it a democracy?

– Turkey is a democracy in such a way that you have general elections, but it is also important that there is free opinion formation in a democracy, and there is a lack of that in Turkey, both with imprisoned journalists but also with opposition politicians who are in prison.

What is the difference between your statements about Turkey and what Ulf Kristersson has said?

– But there, Tobias Billström has in a completely different way asserted that Turkey is a democracy, while I have expressed myself in a more balanced way, me and the government that I led.

What do the Social Democrats want with nuclear power?

Sweden’s electricity needs will grow faster and more than has been said before – the the assessment several authorities did before Christmas. As early as 2035, we may need twice as much electricity as today, and even more after that. On the Social Democrats’ website it is stated that there will be “a gradual phasing out” of nuclear power. Do the Social Democrats want to expand nuclear power?

– This is a contrived conflict from the right-wing parties. We Social Democrats said yes to new nuclear power in the Energy Agreement that was made in 2016. They must leave the election campaign behind. Now it’s no longer about coming up with suggestions that look good on Instagram. Now we need to deal with the fact that we now have high electricity prices and here the entire European energy market needs to be reformed, I expect that Ebba Busch will now take up as chairman of that council. And we need to expand wind power.

Should nuclear power investments be supported?

– That is the big question now, should we go into a nuclear power expansion with taxpayers’ money or not? Here, the government had proposals for credit guarantees and we did not go against it in our budget proposal. That is what we should be discussing, how can we secure a stable electricity supply in the long term with stable conditions that the business world demands, says Magdalena Andersson.

Growing divides during the Social Democrats’ time in power

Equality is a guiding idea for the Social Democrats. But for decades the divides have increased in Sweden, and it also happened during S’s last eight years in power. This week, Statistics Norway showed that the income differences increased by a record amount in 2021. The proportion of the population with a low economic standard, around 15 percent, has increased somewhat, but above all it is those who are better off who have been even better off. In the election analysis from the trade union think-tank Katalys, it is said that the Social Democrats took a defensive line in terms of taxes and distribution policy in order not to scare away bourgeois metropolitan voters. Does Magdalena Andersson agree?

Guest: Magdalena Andersson, party leader of the Social Democrats
Host: Cecilia Strömberg Wallin
Comment: Fredrik FurtenbachEkot’s domestic political commentator
Producer: Maja Lagercrantz
Technician: Jakob Lalér


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