The December Agreement between the alliance and the centre-left government continues to be put into question, write Sören Gyll, the former chief executive of Volvo Group and the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, and Lars Kylberg, former CEO of Saab Scania, and Stefan Hanna, former senior director within Ericsson and now (Centre) municipal councillor of Uppsala.
The three senior representatives of Sweden’s business elite call on the seven parties in the pact to scrap the agreement, and include the Sweden Democrats (DS) in talks on a broad parliamentary compromise to ensure stability for Sweden’s business community. The 2014 election result clearly showed that a majority of voters favour a business-friendly direction for the government, reflect the three.
Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist held talks with India’s Defence Minister and government representatives on Wednesday. Their meeting focused on extensive collaboration within the defence industry between the two countries, according to Reuters news agency, with reference to a billion dollar package.
An Indian defence ministry official told Reuters that the talks included military hardware, aircraft and shipyards in India where plans are being outlined for construction of next generation warships and submarines.
The talks also focused on Sweden helping to modernise India’s air force. Defence and security company Saab has offered to produce its single engine Gripen fighter in India, report international news agencies.
NATO has begun raising its profile in the Baltic region, with American soldiers constantly present for the first time in the Baltic and in Poland. At the same time opinion polls suggest support for Sweden joining the alliance has grown over the past two years. “The Swedish people and the Swedish political world must weigh up the situation and make a supremely Swedish decision,” stresses Douglas Lute, US NATO Ambassador who was in Sweden on Tuesday for talks with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Defence Ministry.
Lute emphasised that there is a difference between being a partner with NATO, such as Sweden, and being a member. Both Georgia and Ukraine are partners, which meant that when they experienced war with Russia in 2008 and 2014 respectively, they received no help from the alliance.
When asked what the effects of Sweden and Finland joining NATO would be, he answered, “It would be like a street with traffic going both ways. We would have use of the military capacity that both countries would contribute to the alliance… What Sweden would get is a life insurance, in which the current 28 NATO members would respond in accordance with article 5 of the NATO treaty.”
In response to the suggestion that joining NATO may destabilise the region, Douglas Lute says, “Russian’s actions are clearly destabilising the security situation in the Euro-Atlantic area in a clearly fundamental way.”
After visiting Stockholm, Lute is travelling to Riga, Latvia.
Deeper defence collaboration in the Baltic Sea area was the focus when Finland’s new prime minister Juha Sipilä met Sweden’s prime minister Stefan Löfven last night.
During the press conference, Juha Sipilä was asked about NATO membership while it was deeper Finnish- Swedish defence and security collaboration which was emphasised in the traditional prime ministers’ meeting which is held between Swedish and Finnish governments after an election.
“From a Swedish perspective collaboration with Finland is very important. We also have that with the other Nordic countries. And we have it with NATO, a collaboration which we would also like to develop,” said Stefan Löfven. He stressed that these “different collaborations” referred to strengthening capacity and increasing security in nearby areas. “I view it in a similar way,” continued Juha Sipilä, and confirmed that Finland’s new government will continue to support sanctions against Russia.
The prime minister duo were to continue to discuss the situation in the EU over dinner.
This year the Swedish police are expected to gain access to three new databases, including Eurodac, which means they will have the right to search a database of fingerprints from 400,000 asylum seekers.
Lena Bergenstråle from the police’s international unit says, “This is an important component when we are working in the fight against terrorism.”
In a recent poll of the financial services industry, just 63% of respondents believed that Sweden’s Financial Supervisory Authority made any contribution to the smooth running of the market. Martin Noréus, acting director general of the watchdog, believes the low rating has to do with the introduction of new rules and tougher supervision.
Meanwhile, Stefan Ingves, the governor of the Riksbank, has criticised the authority for doing too little to curb consumer debt in Sweden. In response, Noréus says: “We share the same view as the Riksbank, that there is a risk when consumer debt escalates. However, we hold slightly different views on how great the risk is. We believe this is more of a risk that builds up over time, so we feel it is reasonable to implement measures gradually”.
Noréus rejects Ingves’ proposal to impose stricter capital requirements on banks, saying the watchdog has found that the banks are practising sound credit risk management and have more than enough capital to cover their risks.