EFF – European Future Forum

By Riccardo Grisanti

The Swedish election results may seem shocking at first glance, but in reality polls had predicted a surge for the Swedish Democrats, the right-wing eurosceptic and anti-immigration party and member of the ECR. In fact, they did not surge to the extent we all thought.

The Swedish Centre-left and centre-right have resisted the nationalist onslaught, unlike many other parts of Europe and in spite of the surge of anti-establishment parties (the Left Party for instance, is eurosceptic as well).

The past government, led by the Social-democrat Stefan Löfven, was a minority government between the Social-Democratic Party and the Greens which has had several difficulties in the past 4 years (for instance concerning the approval of the budget).

In other countries minority governments have been really unstable and have collapsed, such as the last Rajoy government in Spain.

The minority government has carried out an open immigration and refugee policy, making Sweden the second country for the number of refugees, per inhabitant and, as it happened in Germany with the AFD, the migration phenomenon has been contained as just 17% of Swedish people have voted for the Swedish Democrats.

The Social-Democratic party was not harshly punished as the other centre-left parties in government in other countries of Europe (Portugal is another example).

In other words, democracy in Sweden works and it works because it has consolidated a democratic culture, as a country that did not experience a dictatorship in the 1930s and as a country which adopted the universal suffrage early.

It is still disputed whether parliamentary democracy was born in Sweden or in the United Kingdom.

The Swedish Democratic model has also been conjugated with a very specific economic model which is often, wrongly defined as socialist: according to the Index of Economic Freedom, Sweden is at 15h place, being ahead of the USA.

The Swedish model is not socialist but is neocorporativist, therefore the decisions are taken in accordance between businesses, unions and the government, with balanced decisions which satisfy both the needs of businesses, which pay a low corporate tax (just 22%), and workers which make up for more than 80% of members of trade unions and which try to negotiate wages which are in line with the productivity levels.

The strengths of the Swedish economy has favoured the Swedish welfare state which remains a cornerstone of its system.

Once again, Sweden has a long culture based on these features and this has favoured the stability of the country both economically, because it has softened the effects of the 2008 crisis, and politically because the system and its characteristics (proportional representation for instance) has allowed the incumbent governments to manage the situation and avoid damages.

Sweden has joined the European Union only in 1995 and does not have the Euro as a currency, but it has shown to be a pillar of European stability, in spite of everything.

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