Wallström gives first assessment of foreign policy challenges
Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström presented her Statement of Government Policy in a Parliamentary debate on foreign affairs Wednesday morning.
In her comments to the Parliament Wallström said that Russian aggression against Ukraine is still the "largest challenge against European peace and safety since the end of the Cold War."
In 2014 the worsening civil war in Syria and the military aggression of the Islamic State were still concerns for Swedish national security. She said that those conflicts lead to national tensions and increased numbers of refugees. Wallström also emphasized the security threats associated with global warming.
In her address the foreign affairs minister said that policy should be focused on "broad international cooperation" with neighbors in the European Union. And the Statement of Government Policy also called for Sweden to have a greater role globally, calling for more cooperation and support of United Nations peacekeeping operations. Sweden participates in a number of operations conducted by the United Nations including in South Sudan, Liberia, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Middle East.
"One expression of our belief in global peace policy is our contribution to the UN operation in Mali. This will be our first major contribution of personnel to a UN-led operation since 2006," states the Policy document published online.
But in regards to defense, the policy statement says clearly that Sweden "does not participate in any military alliance" indicating that it would not change its relationship to organizations like NATO, though the statement says that Sweden will continue to cooperate with its Nordic neighbors.
"The Government is determined that, in these unsettled times, Sweden will take global responsibility by being a strong voice in the world," states the policy.
Radio Sweden interviewed Anna Wieslander from the Swedish Institute of International Affairs about the differences between this government's policy and the previous government's, as well as what having a feminist foreign policy means in concrete terms.