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Löfven to Parliament: 'Sweden is growing'

Hear what lies ahead for Swedish Parliament
3:26 min
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven speaks at the opening of Parliament on Tuesday.
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven speaks at the opening of Parliament on Tuesday. Credit: Henrik Montgomery/TT

The Swedish King opened a new session of parliament on Tuesday, the last one before Swedes head to the polls next autumn.

At the opening, Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said his government's fourth year in office would focus on national security, the economy and the environment.

"Together we will fight the climate change crisis and environmental threats. Together we will fight insecurity and inequalities. Together we will future-proof jobs and welfare," he said. "Now it is time to build our future."

In his Statement of Government Policy, presenting his government's planned policies for the coming year, Löfven stressed the need to strenghten Sweden's main institutions, such as its social welfare system, schools, police force and infrastructure.

Löfven also announced an extra fiscal boost of SEK 750 million to the nation's emergency dispatch center, customs agency, security service and prosecution authority.

Politicians on the right were critical of Löfven's speech, saying it promised much but was thin on specifics and details about how those promises would be financed. 

They also accused Löfven of glossing over some of Sweden's biggest challenges.

"Sweden risks being torn apart in the coming years, between Swedes and immigrants. We have major challenges over integration, with growing gaps. And the Prime Minister spoke very little about it," Liberal Party leader Jan Björklund told news agency TT.

Overall, Löfven painted a positive picture of Sweden and said the country was advancing despite the problems it faced.

"Now Sweden is growing. Many people have immigrated to our country. We are living longer, and more babies are being born. This is a sign of strength," he told Parliament. "The Swedish welfare state needs to be expanded."

Parliament is currently made up of 8 different political parties and has 349 seats. It also celebrates its 400th anniversary of opening this year.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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