Löfven's Christmas speech amidst low polling numbers
Social Democrat Prime Minister Stefan Löfven delivered his second Christmas speech on the steps up to the Nobel Museum in Stockholm Saturday afternoon, in the shadow of his party steadily dropping in recent opinion polls.
Löfven spoke of both national and international issues, jumping quickly into the refugee situation in Sweden and Europe. He spoke of the darkness of such terrorist attacks as in Trollhättan and in Paris, but also said that he found some light in how the world came together this year for new development goals and a climate agreement.
On the domestic front, Löfven said that it is important to invest in the country, in areas like education, housing and infrastructure, instead of weakening welfare, workers' rights and salaries, which he accused his political opponents of doing. He claimed his opponents' policies would create a "shadow society," where groups of people would live in Sweden without being a part of the system and have limited rights. He said refugees have the right to housing, education, work and to realize their dreams.
"Everyone should be able to demand their rights, but also do their duty. We owe it to those who come to Sweden, and it is the obligation of Swedish society," Löfven said in his speech.
There were also bright signs within Sweden that Löfven mentioned, among them that Sweden has the fourth highest growth in the EU and that unemployment is dropping. But he said the country has a long way to go, and that through solidarity and working side by side there was nothing Sweden cannot achieve. But he warned against yielding to fear mongering, especially in the context of newly-arrived refugees, saying that Swedes have to fight against racism in the country.
At the end of his speech, Löfven praised people in Sweden for volunteering and challenged people to do it more next year. He also thanked those working over the holidays to help keep people safe and secure.
Löfven ended his speech saying: "society is ours collectively and we build it together."