Moderates: If you lose your job, find a new one fast

11 min

For Anna Kinberg Batra, the conservative Moderates' group leader in Parliament, training, job creation, and lowering tax threshholds to hire people, are the keys to getting unemployed people back to work – not raising unemployment benefits.

"If you are honest to voters and say that we cannot promise everything to everyone... then, you need to prioritize," she told Radio Sweden.

Even though the unemployment rate grew in Sweden from 7.1 percent when the Moderate-led government took over in 2006 to 8 percent last year, Kinberg Batra insists Sweden has fared better than other European countries during the deep financial crisis and managed to create 300,000 new jobs. The Moderates now want to create 350,000 more jobs.

"We've managed to keep sound public finances . . . despite turbulence in the world," she says.

They do not want to promise any unfinanced tax cuts.

Kinberg Batra says her government has enabled more foreign-born to work than ever and that her government has also made it easier for international students to stay on in Sweden after they have finished their studies.

"If you came to Sweden as a student, we used to send you home after your exam, and I think that's so negative in a number of ways, for the individual, but also for the economy," she says, adding, "now if you're a student and have made it here despite the weather and the language, I'm proud of that, and I would invite you to stay."

With respect to scandals within the care and education sectors, involving schools closing their doors practically overnight and care facilities scrimping on necessary supplies, Kinberg Batra admits that more needs to be done to ensure the quality of these services.

"You shouldn't be allowed to, for example, buy a Swedish school and make a quick profit from just lowering costs by reducing the number of teachers," says Kinberg Batra, adding, "That shouldn't be allowed, and that's also why we've taken a number of measures to provide that. I don't want to go back to the times where you couldn't choose [your provider], but we need to have stronger requirements for long-term quality priorities for those who own and run schools and health-care institutions, regardless of be it municipal, state-owned or private-owned."

The conservative Moderates have ruled in government since 2006, but in the last election, they saw a setback and have been leading a minority, center-right government for the last four years, along with their coalition partners, the Liberals, the Christian Democrats and the Center Party.

The Moderates were founded in 1904 and for many years, they went by the name the Right, or the Right Party. Their priorities stress individual freedom versus the collective, and in the government, they've introduced a range of tax cuts for working people over the past 8 years, and have encouraged private enterprise's involvement in Sweden's welfare system.

Their leader is Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, who took leadership of the party in 2003. Unfortunately, he was unable to give Radio Sweden a lengthier interview, and so we spoke to the party's group leader in Parliament instead, Anna Kinberg Batra. She's also the chair of the finance committee.