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News from Sweden

Posted by Helen Monday, March 19, 2007 ,

And yes, it does involve the Fragrant Commissar, of whom we have not written much in recent months, largely because the wretched woman and her blog are so utterly boring.

It seems, however, that the ineffable Margot is thinking of a spot of moonlighting as a Swedish politician. As a Commissar sorry, European Commissioner she is supposed to serve the European Union and leave matters of national politics behind. Indeed, each and every member of the Commission promises to act entirely in the European Union’s interests, notwithstanding previous political and present national allegiances.

But what’s this? According to “The Local”, Sweden’s news in English, the new leader of the Social Democrats, Mona Sahlin, speaking for a whole hour on Sunday morning has announced, among other matters,

that she would create a working group to develop the party's foreign and EU policies before the European election in 2009 and the next Swedish election in 2010. EU commissioner Margot Wallström and former foreign minister Jan Eliasson would be on the committee.
She then welcomed Margot Wallstöm back into Swedish politics. Unfortunately, the Fragrant Commissar is not back in Swedish politics. She is still a Commissar and, as such, should not be getting involved in national party politics.

When asked about this, the Fragrant Commissar replied [translation provided by one of our readers and we are very grateful]:
Yes, it is [says Wallström]. But I cannot take on a formal position and sit on a board. But everyone in the Commission is politically active and I think that only enriches our work. This is not a full time task, Margot Wallström points out, and in a response to a question she answers that of course she will inform the Commission about her new task.

I will continue to perform my work as Commissioner with full impartiality she ensured the questioner.
Well, well, so everyone in the Commission is politically active? That would be active in national party politics, I take it. This is not what we are told when questions are asked about the clash between the role of the Commissioner and the oath of the Privy Councillor.

Some things will seem very familiar to la Wallström is going. Mona Sahlin spoke of the lost election of 2005.
She went on to promise a renewal of the party's organisation and leadership:

"We will listen. We will find new ways to communicate," she told the audience.
There is one thing that Ms Sahlin might not be too anxious to communicate and that is the Swedish trade unions going over the heads of the elected Swedish government to the European Commission and the ECJ to prevent the implementation of unemployment benefit reform that had been part of the platform on which it was elected.

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