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Politics of Sweden

Politics of Sweden

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Politics of Sweden takes place in a framework of a parliamentary
Parliamentary system
A parliamentary system is a system of government in which the ministers of the executive branch get their democratic legitimacy from the legislature and are accountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches are intertwined....

 representative democratic
Representative democracy
Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy...

 constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

. Executive power
Executive Power
Executive Power is Vince Flynn's fifth novel, and the fourth to feature Mitch Rapp, an American agent that works for the CIA as an operative for a covert counter terrorism unit called the "Orion Team."-Plot summary:...

 is exercised by the government, led by the Prime Minister of Sweden
Prime Minister of Sweden
The Prime Minister is the head of government in the Kingdom of Sweden. Before the creation of the office of a Prime Minister in 1876, Sweden did not have a head of government separate from its head of state, namely the King, in whom the executive authority was vested...

. Legislative power is vested in both the government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 and parliament, elected within a multi-party system
Multi-party system
A multi-party system is a system in which multiple political parties have the capacity to gain control of government separately or in coalition, e.g.The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in the United Kingdom formed in 2010. The effective number of parties in a multi-party system is normally...

. The Judiciary
Judiciary
The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes...

 is independent, appointed by the government and employed until retirement.

Sweden has a typical Western Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an history of democracy, beginning with the old Viking
Viking
The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

 age Ting
Thing (assembly)
A thing was the governing assembly in Germanic and introduced into some Celtic societies, made up of the free people of the community and presided by lawspeakers, meeting in a place called a thingstead...

 electing kings, ending with a regular royal power in the 14th century, that in periods became more or less democratic depending on the general European trends. The current democratic regime is a product of a stable development of successively added democratic institutions introduced during the 19th century up to 1921, when women's suffrage was introduced. The Government of Sweden
Government of Sweden
The Government of the Kingdom of Sweden is the supreme executive authority of Sweden. It consists of the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers appointed by the Prime Minister. The Government is responsible for their actions to the Riksdag, which is the legislative assembly...

 has adhered to Parliamentarism — de jure since 1975, de facto since 1917.

Since the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, Swedish national politics has largely been dominated by the Social Democratic Workers' Party, which has held a plurality (and sometimes a majority) in parliament since 1917. During the period from 1932-2006 the Social Democrats presided over the government for 65 years, almost exclusively without a minor partner.

Constitution



The Constitution of Sweden consists of four fundamental laws. The most important is the Instrument of Government of 1974 which sets out the basic principles of political life in Sweden, defining rights and freedoms. The Act of Succession is a treaty between the old Riksdag of the Estates
Riksdag of the Estates
The Riksdag of the Estates , was the name used for the Estates of the Swedish realm when they were assembled. Until its dissolution in 1866, the institution was the highest authority in Sweden next to the King...

 and The House of Bernadotte
Bernadotte
The House of Bernadotte, the current royal house of Sweden, has reigned since 1818. Between 1818 and 1905, it was also the royal house of the Norway...

 regulating their rights to accede to the Swedish throne.

The four fundamental laws are:
  • Instrument of Government (1974)
  • Act of Succession
    Swedish Act of Succession
    The Act of Succession is a part of the Swedish Constitution. It was adopted by the Riksdag of the Estates on September 26, 1810, and it regulates the right of members of the House of Bernadotte to accede to the Swedish throne...

     (1809)
  • Freedom of the Press Act (1766)
  • Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression (1991)

Executive branch



|King
Monarch of Sweden
The monarchy of Sweden is the constitutional monarchy of the Kingdom of Sweden. The present monarch, Carl XVI Gustaf, has reigned since 15 September 1973. He and his immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties...


|Carl XVI Gustaf
Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden
Carl XVI Gustaf is the reigning King of Sweden since 15 September 1973, succeeding his grandfather King Gustaf VI Adolf because his father had predeceased him...


|
|September 15, 1973
|-
|Speaker of the Riksdag
Speaker of the Riksdag
The Speaker of the Parliament of Sweden is the speaker of the national parliament in Sweden. The Riksdag underwent changes in 1867, when the old Riksdag of the Estates institution was abolished. The new form of the Riksdag included two chambers, each with its own Speaker...


|Per Westerberg
Per Westerberg
Per Erik Gunnar Westerberg is a Swedish Moderate Party politician and as of 2006 the current Speaker of the Swedish Riksdag, of which he is a member since 1979, and thus also its most senior member ....


|Moderate Party
Moderate Party
The Moderate Party is a centre-right, liberal conservative political party in Sweden. The party was founded in 1904 as the General Electoral League by a group of conservatives in the Swedish parliament...


|October 2, 2006
|-
|Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Sweden
The Prime Minister is the head of government in the Kingdom of Sweden. Before the creation of the office of a Prime Minister in 1876, Sweden did not have a head of government separate from its head of state, namely the King, in whom the executive authority was vested...


|Fredrik Reinfeldt
Fredrik Reinfeldt
John Fredrik Reinfeldt is the Prime Minister of Sweden, leader of the liberal conservative Moderate Party and former President of the European Council...


|Moderate Party
Moderate Party
The Moderate Party is a centre-right, liberal conservative political party in Sweden. The party was founded in 1904 as the General Electoral League by a group of conservatives in the Swedish parliament...


|October 5, 2006
|}

Head of State



  • King Carl XVI Gustaf
    Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden
    Carl XVI Gustaf is the reigning King of Sweden since 15 September 1973, succeeding his grandfather King Gustaf VI Adolf because his father had predeceased him...

     of the House of Bernadotte
    Bernadotte
    The House of Bernadotte, the current royal house of Sweden, has reigned since 1818. Between 1818 and 1905, it was also the royal house of the Norway...

     became king in 1973. His authority is formal, symbolic, and representational.
  • Heiress apparent
    Heir apparent
    An heir apparent or heiress apparent is a person who is first in line of succession and cannot be displaced from inheriting, except by a change in the rules of succession....

     to the throne is Crown Princess Victoria
    Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden
    Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden, Duchess of Västergötland is the heiress-apparent to the Swedish throne. If she ascends to the throne as expected, she will be Sweden's fourth queen regnant .-Early life:...

     since 1980.

Head of Government


  • Following the general elections held on 17 September 2006, Fredrik Reinfeldt
    Fredrik Reinfeldt
    John Fredrik Reinfeldt is the Prime Minister of Sweden, leader of the liberal conservative Moderate Party and former President of the European Council...

     of the Moderate Party
    Moderate Party
    The Moderate Party is a centre-right, liberal conservative political party in Sweden. The party was founded in 1904 as the General Electoral League by a group of conservatives in the Swedish parliament...

     was elected Prime Minister of Sweden
    Prime Minister of Sweden
    The Prime Minister is the head of government in the Kingdom of Sweden. Before the creation of the office of a Prime Minister in 1876, Sweden did not have a head of government separate from its head of state, namely the King, in whom the executive authority was vested...

     by the new parliament on 5 October. Together with the three other political parties in the centre-right Alliance for Sweden
    Alliance for Sweden
    The Alliance , formerly Alliance for Sweden , is a political alliance in Sweden. It consists of the four centre-right parties in the Riksdag...

    , Reinfeldt presides over a coalition government.
  • Deputy Prime Minister
    Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden
    The Swedish constitution allows the Prime Minister to appoint one of the Ministers in the cabinet as Deputy Prime Minister , in case the Prime Minister for some reason is prevented from performing his or her duties...

     is Jan Björklund
    Jan Björklund
    Jan Arne Björklund is a Swedish politician. He is the leader of the Liberal People's Party and serves as Minister for Education and Deputy Prime Minister in the Swedish government.- Education and military career :...

     of the Liberal People's Party
    Liberal People's Party (Sweden)
    The Liberal People's Party is a political party in Sweden. The party advocates social liberalism and is part of the governing centre-right coalition The Alliance, which achieved a majority in the general election of 17 September 2006...

    .

Government


The executive authority of the government is vested in the cabinet, which consists of a Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Sweden
The Prime Minister is the head of government in the Kingdom of Sweden. Before the creation of the office of a Prime Minister in 1876, Sweden did not have a head of government separate from its head of state, namely the King, in whom the executive authority was vested...

 and roughly 22 Ministers who run the government departments.
The Ministers are appointed by the Prime Minister without any confirmation of the Parliament. The Prime Minister is first appointed by the Speaker of Parliament and then confirmed by Parliament. The monarch plays no part in this process.

Legislative branch


The unicameral Riksdag
Parliament of Sweden
The Riksdag is the national legislative assembly of Sweden. The riksdag is a unicameral assembly with 349 members , who are elected on a proportional basis to serve fixed terms of four years...

 has 349 members, popularly elected every 4 years. It is in session generally from September through mid-June.
Legislation may be initiated by the Cabinet
Government of Sweden
The Government of the Kingdom of Sweden is the supreme executive authority of Sweden. It consists of the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers appointed by the Prime Minister. The Government is responsible for their actions to the Riksdag, which is the legislative assembly...

 or by members of Parliament. Members are elected on the basis of proportional representation
Proportional representation
Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system if 30% of voters support a particular...

 for a four-year term. The Riksdag can alter the Constitution of Sweden
Constitution of Sweden
The Swedish Constitution consists of four fundamental laws :* The 1810 Act of Succession * The 1949 Freedom of the Press Act * The 1974 Instrument of Government * The 1991 Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression...

, but only with approval by a supermajority
Supermajority
A supermajority or a qualified majority is a requirement for a proposal to gain a specified level or type of support which exceeds a simple majority . In some jurisdictions, for example, parliamentary procedure requires that any action that may alter the rights of the minority has a supermajority...

 and confirmation after the following general elections.

The Swedish Social Democratic Party
Swedish Social Democratic Party
The Swedish Social Democratic Workers' Party, , contesting elections as 'the Workers' Party – the Social Democrats' , or sometimes referred to just as 'the Social Democrats' and most commonly as Sossarna ; is the oldest and largest political party in Sweden. The party was founded in 1889...

 has played a leading political role since 1917, after Reformists confirmed their strength and the revolutionaries
Left Party (Sweden)
The Left Party is a socialist and feminist political party in Sweden, from 1967 to 1990 known as the Left Party – The Communists .On welfare issues, the party opposes privatizations...

 left the party. After 1932, the Cabinets
Government of Sweden
The Government of the Kingdom of Sweden is the supreme executive authority of Sweden. It consists of the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers appointed by the Prime Minister. The Government is responsible for their actions to the Riksdag, which is the legislative assembly...

 have been dominated by the Social Democrats. Only four general elections (1976, 1979, 1991 and 2006) have given the centre-right bloc enough seats in Parliament to form a government. This is considered one reason for the Swedish post-war welfare state
Welfare state
A welfare state is a "concept of government in which the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those...

, with a government expenditure of slightly more than 50% of the gross domestic product
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

.

Political parties and elections


Judiciary


Swedish law, drawing on Germanic, Roman, and Anglo-American law, is neither as codified as in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and other countries influenced by the Napoleonic Code
Napoleonic code
The Napoleonic Code — or Code Napoléon — is the French civil code, established under Napoléon I in 1804. The code forbade privileges based on birth, allowed freedom of religion, and specified that government jobs go to the most qualified...

, nor as dependent on judicial practice and precedents as in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.
  • Courts: Civil and criminal jurisdiction
    • Supreme Court
      Supreme Court of Sweden
      The Supreme Court of Sweden is the supreme court and the third and final instance in all civil and criminal cases in Sweden. Before a case can be decided by the Supreme Court, leave to appeal must be obtained, and with few exceptions, leave to appeal can be granted only when the case is of...

       or Högsta domstolen
    • Courts of appeal or Hovrätt
      Hovrätt
      The Hovrätt was the highest judicial body in Sweden until Gustav III of Sweden founded the Supreme Court of Sweden in 1789. The first hovrätt, Svea hovrätt, was founded in 1614...

      er
    • District courts or Tingsrätt
      Tingsrätt
      Tingsrätt , käräjäoikeus or tingrett is a term used for district courts in Sweden, Finland and Norway...

      er

  • Administrative Courts: Litigation between the Public and the Government.
    • The Supreme Administrative Court
      Supreme Administrative Court of Sweden
      The Supreme Administrative Court of Sweden is the supreme court and the third and final tier for administrative court cases in Sweden, and is located in Stockholm...

       or Regeringsrätten
    • Administrative courts of appeal or Kammarrätter
    • County administrative courts or Länsrätter

  • Ombudsman:
    • The Parliamentary Ombudsman or Justitieombudsmannen
    • The Chancellor of Justice
      Chancellor of Justice
      In some countries, the Chancellor of Justice is a government official responsible for supervising the lawfulness of government actions. The Chancellor does not have the power to strike down laws In some countries, the Chancellor of Justice is a government official responsible for supervising the...

       or Justitiekanslern

Politicians


Sweden has a history of strong political involvement by ordinary people through its "popular movements" (Folkrörelser in Swedish), the most notable being trade unions, the women's movement, the temperance movement
Temperance movement
A temperance movement is a social movement urging reduced use of alcoholic beverages. Temperance movements may criticize excessive alcohol use, promote complete abstinence , or pressure the government to enact anti-alcohol legislation or complete prohibition of alcohol.-Temperance movement by...

, and — more recently — sports movement. Election turnout in Sweden has always been high in international comparisons, although it has declined in recent decades, and is around 82 percent (81.99 in Sweden general election, 2006).

Some Swedish political figures that have become known worldwide include Joe Hill
Joe Hill
Joe Hill, born Joel Emmanuel Hägglund in Gävle , and also known as Joseph Hillström was a Swedish-American labor activist, songwriter, and member of the Industrial Workers of the World...

, Carl Skoglund
Carl Skoglund
Carl Skoglund was a Swedish-American socialist, affectionately called Skogie by all his American friends and comrades. He was born in Dalsland and went to the United States in 1911. After spending some time in the I.W.W...

, Raoul Wallenberg
Raoul Wallenberg
Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish businessman, diplomat and humanitarian. He is widely celebrated for his successful efforts to rescue thousands of Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary from the Holocaust, during the later stages of World War II...

, Folke Bernadotte
Folke Bernadotte
Folke Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg was a Swedish diplomat and nobleman noted for his negotiation of the release of about 31,000 prisoners from German concentration camps during World War II, including 450 Danish Jews from Theresienstadt released on 14 April 1945...

, Dag Hammarskjöld
Dag Hammarskjöld
Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjöld was a Swedish diplomat, economist, and author. An early Secretary-General of the United Nations, he served from April 1953 until his death in a plane crash in September 1961. He is the only person to have been awarded a posthumous Nobel Peace Prize. Hammarskjöld...

, Olof Palme
Olof Palme
Sven Olof Joachim Palme was a Swedish politician. A long-time protegé of Prime Minister Tage Erlander, Palme led the Swedish Social Democratic Party from 1969 to his assassination, and was a two-term Prime Minister of Sweden, heading a Privy Council Government from 1969 to 1976 and a cabinet...

, Carl Bildt
Carl Bildt
, Honorary KCMG is a Swedish politician, diplomat and nobleman. Formerly Prime Minister of Sweden from 1991 to 1994 and leader of the liberal conservative Moderate Party from 1986 to 1999, Bildt has served as Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs since 6 October 2006...

, Hans Blix
Hans Blix
is a Swedish diplomat and politician for the Liberal People's Party. He was Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs . Blix was also the head of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission from March 2000 to June 2003, when he was succeeded by Dimitris Perrikos...

, and Anna Lindh
Anna Lindh
Ylva Anna Maria Lindh was a Swedish Social Democratic politician, Chairman of the Social Democratic Youth League 1984-1990, Member of Parliament 1982-1985 and 1998-2003...

.

According to a survey investigation by the sociologist Jenny Hansson, Swedish national parliamentarians have an average work week of 66 hours, including side responsibilities. Hansson's investigation further reports that the average Swedish national parliamentarian sleeps 6.5 hours per night.

Administrative divisions



Sweden is divided into 21 counties. In each county there is a County Administrative Board
County Administrative Boards of Sweden
A County Administrative Board is a Government appointed board of a County in Sweden. It is led by a Governor or Landshövding appointed for a term of six years and the list of succession, in most cases, stretches back to 1634 when the counties were created...

 and a County Council
County Councils of Sweden
A county council, or landsting, is an elected assembly of a county in Sweden. A county council is a political entity, elected by the county electorate and typically its main responsibilities lie within the public health care system. In each county there is also a county administrative board which...

. Each county is also divided into several Municipalities
Municipalities of Sweden
The municipalities of Sweden are the local government entities of Sweden. The current 290 municipalities are organized into 21 counties...

, in total 289. Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

 is the capital of Sweden. The King, the Parliament
Parliament of Sweden
The Riksdag is the national legislative assembly of Sweden. The riksdag is a unicameral assembly with 349 members , who are elected on a proportional basis to serve fixed terms of four years...

 and the Cabinet
Government of Sweden
The Government of the Kingdom of Sweden is the supreme executive authority of Sweden. It consists of the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers appointed by the Prime Minister. The Government is responsible for their actions to the Riksdag, which is the legislative assembly...

 all sit in Stockholm. Up to 1968 when the Overgovernor's Office was incorporated into Stockholm County
Stockholm County
Stockholm County is a county or län on the Baltic sea coast of Sweden. It borders Uppsala County and Södermanland County. It also borders Mälaren and the Baltic Sea. The city of Stockholm is the capital of Sweden. Stockholm County is divided by the historic provinces of Uppland and Södermanland...

, it had a special status.

Energy politics



After the 1973 oil crisis
1973 oil crisis
The 1973 oil crisis started in October 1973, when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries or the OAPEC proclaimed an oil embargo. This was "in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military" during the Yom Kippur war. It lasted until March 1974. With the...

, the energy
Energy
In physics, energy is an indirectly observed quantity. It is often understood as the ability a physical system has to do work on other physical systems...

 politics were determined to become less dependent on the import of petroleum
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

. Since then, electricity has been generated mostly from hydropower
Hydropower
Hydropower, hydraulic power, hydrokinetic power or water power is power that is derived from the force or energy of falling water, which may be harnessed for useful purposes. Since ancient times, hydropower has been used for irrigation and the operation of various mechanical devices, such as...

 and nuclear power. Sweden wants to be independent of petroleum use by 2020. The Three Mile Island accident
Three Mile Island accident
The Three Mile Island accident was a core meltdown in Unit 2 of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania near Harrisburg, United States in 1979....

 (USA) prompted the Swedish parliament in 1980 after a referendum
Referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

 to decide that no further nuclear power plants should be built and that a nuclear power phase-out
Nuclear power phase-out
A nuclear power phase-out is the discontinuation of usage of nuclear power for energy production. Often initiated because of concerns about nuclear power, phase-outs usually include shutting down nuclear power plants and looking towards renewable energy and other fuels.Austria was the first country...

 should be completed by 2010. , the use of renewables
Renewable energy
Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable . About 16% of global final energy consumption comes from renewables, with 10% coming from traditional biomass, which is mainly used for heating, and 3.4% from...

 amounted to 26% of the energy supply in Sweden, most important being hydropower
Hydroelectricity
Hydroelectricity is the term referring to electricity generated by hydropower; the production of electrical power through the use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy...

 and biomass
Biomass
Biomass, as a renewable energy source, is biological material from living, or recently living organisms. As an energy source, biomass can either be used directly, or converted into other energy products such as biofuel....

. In 2003, electricity from hydropower accounted for 53 TWh
TWH
TWH or twh could refer to:*Tennessee Walking Horse, a breed of horse* Toronto Western Hospital, a hospital in Toronto, Canada* TWH Bus & Coach, a bus company in Romford, England* Terrawatt-hour, measure of electrical energy, 1012 watt-hours...

 and 40% of the country's production of electricity
Electricity
Electricity is a general term encompassing a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. These include many easily recognizable phenomena, such as lightning, static electricity, and the flow of electrical current in an electrical wire...

 with nuclear power delivering 65 TWh (49%). At the same time, the use of biofuel
Biofuel
Biofuel is a type of fuel whose energy is derived from biological carbon fixation. Biofuels include fuels derived from biomass conversion, as well as solid biomass, liquid fuels and various biogases...

s, peat
Peat
Peat is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation matter or histosol. Peat forms in wetland bogs, moors, muskegs, pocosins, mires, and peat swamp forests. Peat is harvested as an important source of fuel in certain parts of the world...

 etc. produced 13 TWh of electricity. Sweden is the highest ranked country in the Climate Change Performance Index.

In March 2005, an opinion poll showed that 83% supported maintaining or increasing nuclear power. Since then however, reports about radioactive leakages at a nuclear waste store in Forsmark, Sweden, have been published. This does not seem to have changed the public support of continued use of nuclear power.

Following the recommendation of the 1980 referendum, two nuclear power reactors were closed by government decision in 1999 and 2005, respectively. However, in February 2009, the Swedish centre-right wing government announced that new nuclear power stations may be constructed if they replace old ones, thus ending the previous de facto phase out policy.

Foreign relations



Throughout the 20th century, Swedish foreign policy was based on the principle of non-alignment
Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

 in peacetime, neutrality
Neutral country
A neutral power in a particular war is a sovereign state which declares itself to be neutral towards the belligerents. A non-belligerent state does not need to be neutral. The rights and duties of a neutral power are defined in Sections 5 and 13 of the Hague Convention of 1907...

 in wartime. This principle has often been criticised in Sweden, allegedly being a facade, claiming that the Swedish government had an advanced collaboration with western countries within NATO.

During Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 era politics, Sweden was not under the Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

 and received only minimal aid from the Marshall Plan
Marshall Plan
The Marshall Plan was the large-scale American program to aid Europe where the United States gave monetary support to help rebuild European economies after the end of World War II in order to combat the spread of Soviet communism. The plan was in operation for four years beginning in April 1948...

. In 1952, a Swedish DC-3 was shot down
Catalina affair
The Catalina affair was an incident on June 13, 1952, when a Swedish military Douglas DC-3A-360 Skytrain flying over the Baltic Sea carrying out signals intelligence gathering operations for the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment , disappeared east of the isle of Gotska Sandön.Three days...

 over the Baltic Sea while gathering reconnaissance. It was later revealed that the plane had been shot down by the Soviet Union. Another plane, a Catalina
PBY Catalina
The Consolidated PBY Catalina was an American flying boat of the 1930s and 1940s produced by Consolidated Aircraft. It was one of the most widely used multi-role aircraft of World War II. PBYs served with every branch of the United States Armed Forces and in the air forces and navies of many other...

 search and rescue
Search and rescue
Search and rescue is the search for and provision of aid to people who are in distress or imminent danger.The general field of search and rescue includes many specialty sub-fields, mostly based upon terrain considerations...

 craft, was sent out a few days later and shot down by Soviets warplanes as well.

Sweden was the first western nation to detect unusually high radiation
Radiation
In physics, radiation is a process in which energetic particles or energetic waves travel through a medium or space. There are two distinct types of radiation; ionizing and non-ionizing...

 levels in the atmosphere, which later was confirmed to have been the residual nuclear fallout from the Chernobyl accident
Chernobyl disaster
The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine , which was under the direct jurisdiction of the central authorities in Moscow...

.

Sweden is also very active in international peace efforts, especially through the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

, and in support to the Third World
Third World
The term Third World arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either capitalism and NATO , or communism and the Soviet Union...

.

In 1995 Sweden together with Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 and Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 joined the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, extending the number of member countries from 12 to 15. Membership and its issues are among the most important questions in Swedish politics. Apart from the European Union Sweden is also an active member of the United Nations and several other organisations such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is an international economic organisation of 34 countries founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade...

 and International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

.

See also

  • Referendums in Sweden
    Referendums in Sweden
    Since the introduction of parliamentarism in Sweden, six referendums have been held. The constitution of 1974 provides for binding referendums. However, none of the referendums held have been binding but rather have been of an advisory and consultative nature and not formally binding on the...

  • List of political parties in Sweden
  • Swedish Armed Forces
    Swedish Armed Forces
    The Swedish Armed Forces is a Swedish Government Agency responsible for the operation of the armed forces of the Realm. The primary task of the agency is to train, organize and to deploy military forces, domestically and abroad, while maintaining the long-term ability to defend the Realm in the...


Further reading

  • CIA World Factbook - Sweden
  • United States Department of State
    United States Department of State
    The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

     - Sweden
  • CCPI, Jan Burck, Christoph Bals, Marisa Beck and Elisabeth Rüthlein. "Climate Change Performance Index2008." December 2007. Germanwatch. .
  • Jenny Hansson, 2008. Report on Swedish national parliamentarians' work hours, sleep and life satisfaction. "De Folkvaldas Livsvillkor". http://www8.umu.se/soc/personal/Jenny%20Hanssons%20avhandlingsarbete.%20Presentation%20samt%20.pdf

External links