New Swedish Government advances Green objectives

After months of negotiations, Sweden is about to form a new minority government led by the Social Democrats and the Greens, with support from the Centre and Liberal parties. Jakop Dalunde, Swedish Green MEP, looks at the four-party deal and the policies secured by the Greens.

Swedish Riksdag
Swedish Riksdag

The Riksdag, the seat of the Swedish Parliament.

Jakop Dalunde

The record-breaking, 129-day long Swedish government formation process will (probably) come to a close today (18 January).

During the last couple of days, there has been significant progress. The Social Democrats and the Greens have struck a deal with the Centre and Liberal parties – both in Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe in the European Parliament – laying the foundation for a continued minority government consisting of the Social Democrats and the Greens. The Centre and Liberal parties will support that government’s budget proposals in exchange for political concessions.

The proposed Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven, will most likely assume office today after a parliamentary vote on his candidature. It remains to be seen how many ministers the Greens will get, in addition to which posts in particular.

The Social Democrats have had to placate the Centre and Liberal parties to a great extent to secure their support for the minority government. The deal contains concessions to the parties in areas such as the labour market, with expanded derogations from employment protection laws for small and medium enterprises, and allowing for lower salaries for certain jobs if aimed at long-term unemployed or migrants who recently arrived in Sweden.

The Greens managed to achieve many of our main green objectives during the negotiations. The four-party deal contains proposals on building high-speed rail between the country’s three largest cities, procuring the development of night trains to major European cities, while also increasing efforts to expand the amount of train traffic from Sweden to continental Europe.

The negotiations also resulted in a reinstatement of the recently abolished flight tax – one of our highest priorities – and a ban on new petrol and diesel car sales by 2030. We also managed to achieve Sweden’s largest green tax shift ever, amounting to around €1.5 billion (£1.32 billion), as well as increased bonuses for consumers when buying zero- and low-emission vehicles. Investments in charging infrastructure and the production and distribution of biogas for vehicles will also increase.

Concerning migrant policy, we managed to expand the right to family reunification.

The importance of the four-party deal cannot be understated. Without this agreement, Sweden would likely have gotten it’s most conservative government ever, consisting of the Moderate Party and the Christian Democrats (both in the European People’s Party), depending on the support of the far right Sweden Democrats (recently joined the european Conservatives and Reformists group, having previously been a member of the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group).

For these reasons, and as a member of the party board, I support the four-party deal. It lays the foundation for a government that will continue to promote ambitious climate policy nationally and in the European Council, supporting our efforts to do so here in Parliament.

Jakop Dalunde is a Swedish MEP and member of the Swedish Green Party.