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opposition demands Reinfeldt takes up Guantanamo and Snowdon

Obama visit to strengthen relations with the EU

"This reinforces that the United States cares about the smaller countries"
4:08 min

The visit of U.S. President Barack Obama to Stockholm early next month is being described as "a sign of the good bilateral relationship that today exists between the U.S and Sweden and that the bilateral relationship has never been as good as today."

Jan Joel Andersson is head of the North American programme at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs and tells Radio Sweden that there is a lot of common interests between the two countries.

However, an alternative view is that Obama's visit is less about Sweden and more about the EU.

Late on Wednesday, Baltic news agency BNS claimed that President Obama will reportedly meet the leaders of the Nordic and Baltic nations when he visits Stockholm September 4-5.

The leader of the opposition Social Democrat Party in Sweden, Stefan Löfven, says he hopes that Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt will raise key issues of concern.

"We have of course the issues of Guantanamo and privacy issues in the wake of Snowden. Very important issues that should be addressed between countries that have good relations," he says to news agency TT.

"To that I add the development perspective and discussion of a free trade agreement. Obama has developed an industrial approach which is really good. He talks about reindustrialising the United States and creating jobs and optimism, which is very important."

Meanwhile, Charles Kupchan, an expert on Transatlantic relations at the Council on Foreign Nations tells Swedish Radio News that Obama's visit is more about strengthening ties with the EU.

"There are no urgent matters to discuss that make it necessary for Obama to visit Sweden," says Kupchan.

"Although each visit to a European country helps in the ongoing negotiations for a free trade agreement between the EU and U.S., so you should see President Obama's upcoming visit to Stockholm as a re-investment in the relationship with Europe in general," he says.

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