Reinfeldt Pleased with Presidency

Updated 15:31

With only two weeks left of the Swedish EU presidency, the Swedish efforts were summarized at a debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, on Wednesday.

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt started off by giving himself and Sweden a good report, saying that Sweden has succeeded in everything that they set out to achieve; a strong EU mandate for the climate change, a follow up of the financial crisis, an EU Baltic Sea strategy, the Stockholm programme as well as the EU’s introduction of the Lisbon agreement.

The president of the EU Commission José Manuel Barroso then congratulated Fredrik Reinfeldt and the rest of the Swedish team for a job well done.

But not everyone is as pleased with the achievements of the Swedish government during the presidency.

The Opposition Social Democrat Marita Ulvskog, European MP, said on Swedish Radio on Wednesday morning that she regretted that the Swedish presidency was characterised by politicians choosing not to act for fear of failing.

“Everything has been very defensive and bleak, and once again it is the larger member states like Germany, France and the United Kingdom who have been at the forefront,” she said on Swedish Radio.

According to Ulvskog, Sweden ought to have been more firm when it comes to employment issues and social welfare as well as a bit more daring in climate negotiations.

Fredrik Reinfeldt said on Wednesday afternoon that he could only think of one area where the Swedish presidency didn't deliver.  He would have wanted Sweden to coax the EU to agree on new rules for citizens wanting medical care in another member state.

"But it turned out that this was not possible. Out of all the issues we had prepared for, this was the one which proved undoable," he said to Swedish news agency TT.

He also conceded that it had been slightly painful to have to agree on giving 300 million Euro extra in subsidies to dairy farmers. Sweden is one of only a few EU countries against an increase of European farming subsidies.

"But the role of the presidency is to find consensus, to support the opinion of the majority, even if Sweden as a separate country has a differing opinion," said Reinfeldt to TT.