Sweden’s new prime minister on Tuesday announced the members of his Cabinet and set out priorities for his government, including fighting crime, a stepped-up defense posture, and climate change.
Ulf Kristersson, who was appointed premier on Monday, confirmed in a speech that he will be leading a three-party coalition government with the Moderates, the Christian Democrats, and the Liberals.
His Cabinet will feature 13 ministers from his center-right Moderates party, six from the Christian Democrats, and five from the Liberals.
Top appointees include Tobias Billstrom as foreign minister and Pople Jonson as defense minister, both from the Moderates, and Ebba Busch from the Christian Democrats as the new energy and industry minister.
Kristersson promised that the new government will "unite" the country and respect differences.
"I will form a government for the whole of Sweden and for everyone who lives here, a government rooted in strong values that will respect the values of others," he pledged.
Energy, China, NATO membership bid
Among the political tasks awaiting government action, he mentioned crime and record high shootings in the Nordic country as a top priority.
"A council for serious organized crime will be set up at the Justice Ministry," he said.
Kristersson also addressed several reforms in the field of energy and justice, pensions, and the labor market.
Mindful of Sweden’s proximity to Russia, he said that by 2026, 2% of the nation’s GDP will go to defense, and that civil defense will now be under the Defense Ministry.
On foreign and security policy, he said, clearly alluding to Russia’s ongoing war on Ukraine: "Sweden will never accept that aggressive states violate the freedom and self-determination of democratic countries."
Farther from home, Kristersson also criticized China's new tone on Taiwan, saying: "Sweden's relationship with China should anchor a common European strategy with a clear transatlantic link."
Touching on Sweden’s NATO membership bid – spurred by Russia’s nearly eight-month-old war on Ukraine – he said that Swedish defense will "live up to our obligations as a member."
Sweden has yet to be officially accepted into the alliance, with longtime NATO member Türkiye saying it needs to do more to meet its promises to Ankara in a deal signed this June.
Environmental problems are "one of the great cross-border issues of our time," Kristersson added, saying a program for international climate investments in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement is being developed.
"The investments contribute to reaching the Swedish climate goal of net zero emissions by 2045," he added.
The right-wing bloc won a slim majority in last month's election over the ruling Social Democrats government and its left-wing bloc by securing 176 seats in the 349-member parliament.
The far-right Sweden Democrats will not be a part of the government, but Kristersson told a press conference last week that "he will cooperate closely” with the party.
Source: Anadolu Agency