Busch Thor delivers first Almedalen speech

2:13 min

Family, defense and the fight against terrorism was at the center of Christian Democrat party leader Ebbe Busch Thor's first speech ever at Almedalen.

Busch Thor began by looking east across the waters of the Baltic Sea and spoke of her fear of the threat from Russia, saying that closer Swedish cooperation with NATO is important. 

"Alone we are not strong. We need to continue to work together with NATO, either through closer cooperation or as a member" Busch Thor said.

She also devoted a part of her speech to repeating the seven-point program to fight violent extremism she laid out earlier in the day, but she also suggested Sweden's military could participate in the fight against the terrorist organization the Islamic State.

Busch Thor said that if the international alliance requested, Sweden should send JAS fighter jets in the struggle against IS. Because, she said, there must not be any doubt where Sweden stands on these questions.

In her speech, Busch Thor also restated former party leader Göran Hägglund's proposal to change asylum policy by granting temporary rather than permanent residence permits to asylum seekers. The party's hope is that this will reduce the number of refugees entering Sweden, in relation to the rest of Europe.

Busch Thor said that her party is against quotas, saying that there's the risk of dividing people by sex, skin color, belief, ethinicity, sexual orientation and impairment.

Closer to the end of her speech, Busch Thor arrived at the heart of the Christian Democrat agenda, family politics. She talked about how she is a recent mother, having given birth in May, and was critical of the red-green government's proposal to introduce a third month required for fathers of total parental leave, saying that parents must be allowed to decide themselves how to divide their parental leave.

"As a politician, I don't know what the puzzle of your life looks like and I shouldn't have the power to decide how you put it together," Busch Thor said, adding that the power over everyday life should lie as close as possible to the people affected.