|| issue 4, year XII, 2005
H. E. Bertil Roth, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden
Interview by Nadia Stancheva Ananieva page 4
Sweden’s view on the Partnership
for Peace and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council
Anders Bjurner, Ambassador page 6
The Partnership for Peace (PfP) and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) are vital components of the European security architecture. Participating in the Partnership with NATO through the PfP and the EAPC is an important part of Swedish foreign and security policy. Sweden joined the PfP in 1994 and the EAPC in 1997. Sweden attaches importance to its cooperation within the PfP/EAPC, which covers a broad range of issues. Sweden’s cooperation with NATO is based on our policy of military non-alignment. As an active contributor to international crisis management efforts, Sweden considers PfP cooperation in this field to be particularly important. Sweden is a substantial contributor to the NATO-led crisis management operations in Kosovo and in Afghanistan.Sweden has a fundamental interest in maintaining its ability to exercise influence on the activities we participate in within the Partnership, especially the crisis management operations Sweden contributes to. Through the EAPC/PfP, Sweden participates continuously in consultations on operations that Swedes take part in and on other PfP-related activities. Sweden has given priority to strengthening the insight and influence of non-NATO troop contributors prior to and during NATO-led operations. Sweden is the host of the first EAPC Security Forum, which took place in Åre 24-25th May 2005. The EAPC Security Forum is an informal ministerial meeting to be held every year as part of the cooperation in the EAPC/PfP. From a Swedish point of view, the EAPC Security Forum is an important opportunity to discuss crucial aspects of cooperation in the Partnership. Key security policy issues are on the agenda. The EAPC Security Forum presents an occasion for a broader discussion of challenges facing the Partnership.
Sweden at Center
of Europe’s Growth Market
James Savage, journalist page 8
Ask the CEOs of many international companies where Sweden is, and a growing number won’t say Scandinavia or the Nordic region, they will say the Baltic Sea region or the Nordic-Baltic region. The countries on the eastern and southern shores of the Baltic Sea are identifying more and more with their Scandinavian neighbors, and Swedish companies are at the forefront of exploiting some of Europe’s fastest growing market. Poland, Russia, Latvia Estonia and Lithuania are some of Sweden’s fastest growing trading partners, and Sweden is the largest investor and largest export market for many of these countries. Indeed, Sweden is the largest market in Scandinavia, and has the region’s largest economy. The core Baltic Sea region is home to 100 million people - if the region is defined to include the whole of Russia and Ukraine (as some organizations do), the region has a population of 240 million people, divided between highly industrialized countries and high-growth developing economies. Swedish policy has encouraged the development of business in the region, with initiatives such as the SEK 1 billion (US$ 14 million) Baltic Billion Fund, through which organizations including the Swedish Trade Council and Invest in Sweden Agency have promoted trade and investment between Sweden and countries in the region, with IT a particular area of focus. One way in which trade and investment between countries in the region is encouraged is through schemes such as Marketplace Baltic Region. This program, run by the Swedish Trade Council, helps small and medium sized Swedish countries wishing to establish a business presence elsewhere in the Baltic Sea region. The Swedish Trade Council also produces the EU Baltic Bulletin, a newsletter in English about business developments in the countries around the Baltic Sea.
How is the Swedish model faring?
Joakim Palme, director of the Institute
for Future Studies page 10
Sweden moved into the 21st century after a decade of mass unemployment, financial crisis and cutbacks in the social welfare sector. Moreover, inequality has increased today, the population is ageing and large groups of immigrants are jobless. EU membership and globalisation of the economy, meanwhile, appear to be restricting Sweden’s room for manoeuvre on national policy issues. This prompts the question of how the Swedish model is faring. Despite the fact that society has changed radically since the 1930s, the concept of a Swedish model lives on. In recent years, however, the perception that Sweden is special has been increasingly questioned in Sweden itself. And beyond the country’s borders, the crisis of the 1990s and the cutbacks and reforms introduced as a consequence, have been seen as the beginning of the end for this model. In the field of social welfare, Sweden has come to represent the archetype of a universal model. All Swedish residents are included and the vast majority are insured primarily via the various public welfare systems. In the case of welfare transfers, employees receive a combination of general benefits and universal means-tested benefits. Entitlement is individual and is not related to the family provider. Public healthcare insurance is available to all. A distinguishing feature of the Swedish social model is its comprehensive range of publicly subsidised welfare services for everything from childcare to care of the elderly. Local authorities have been the main providers of these services. Social policy programmes targeting disadvantaged groups have been variously integrated into the country’s public social welfare institutions. Policy in the disability field is one such example. In addition, the Swedish social welfare model has been based on a policy of full unemployment with a strong element of both active and selective labour market initiatives. The welfare services sector itself is a major employer.
Year of Design
Will Boost Swedish Industry
James Savage page 13
The pantheon of Swedish design classics already contains some familiar names. From carmakers such as Volvo and Saab to the furniture of Ikea, Swedish companies have been setting the pace internationally. Combine that with Sweden’s well-documented success in IT and telecom, and it is unsurprising that Sweden is turning out high-tech products with cutting edge design. Sweden’s focus on design is stronger than ever. The Swedish Industrial Design Foundation (SVID), together with Svensk Form, the Swedish Society of Crafts and Design, have designated 2005 Year of Swedish Design. The aim of the project is to encourage wider use of good design, and thereby to create business opportunities. The Year of Design is focused on design that can benefit society through development of culture and the arts, economic growth, enhancement of democracy and environmental protection. One Swedish company clearly demonstrating this is Libego, a Linkoping-based firm that has developed VoiSec, a ‘talking button’ that can help blind or dyslexic people record voice memos. VoiceSec’s small size means that it can be attached to objects such as medicine bottles, or can be used as a ‘talking sign’. VoiceSec designer Tomas Tornqvist says that in order to make useful products, the design process needs to be commercially minded, and be based on a need in society rather than purely on technology.
The press in Sweden
Tsemaye Opubor Hambraeus, freelance journalist page 16
Sweden is a nation of newspaper and magazine readers. In all, nearly 90 per cent of adults in the country of nine million read at least one newspaper a day, putting Sweden near the top of worldwide print media consumption statistics. Metro, the largest and fastest growing international newspaper in the world was launched in Sweden in 1995. Unlike many other countries where morning papers are purchased at newsstands, Sweden’s daily newspaper market is dominated by a large percentage of subscribers to morning newspapers that offer early home delivery. According to the Swedish Newspaper Publishers’ Association (TU), 93 per cent of the daily circulation of morning papers is delivered to home subscribers. The four largest magazines in Sweden target homemakers and offer their (female) readers diverse articles related to gardening, cooking, lifestyle and home decorating. However, new magazine titles focused on special interests and hobbies are also increasing in the marketplace and there are more titles for men than previously. Swedish magazine publishers were able to double the amount of new magazines they brought to readers in 2004. A whopping 118 new titles were launched in that year, on average a new title every third day, accounting for almost 40 more titles than in 2003. With such growth and a market that seems to still have room for new innovations; the Swedish reader will have plenty to keep them busy.
UN Secretary-General, 1953-1961:
In the Service of Peace
Librarian at the Dag Hammarskjold Library page 18
When Dag Hammarskjold became Secretary-General of the United Nations in April 1953, to many people he was no more than an unknown Swedish government official. But during his years at the UN he successfully expanded the roles of the UN and of its Secretary-General in world politics. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Dag Hammarskjold’s birth in 2005 is a way to commemorate his faith in the potential of the UN. In many respects, Hammarskjold was an unknown quantity when he assumed his post, but he soon showed that he had the capacity to make the sluggish UN organization more effective. He gained a reputation as a highly dedicated, self-sacrificing official with a very far-sighted vision of his position. He was driven by a personal desire to act quickly, since he believed that problems should be solved at an early stage, before they become more complicated. During his period as Secretary-General, he introduced quiet diplomacy at the UN. He felt that in certain situations, this method was preferable to open debates, which often led to more serious conflicts. Dag Hammarskjold gave the office of UN Secretary-General a whole new authority. In his negotiating tasks, he maintained a neutral stance and emphasized the duty of the UN to protect small countries against the major powers. Hammarskjold also shaped the UN’s mandate to establish peacekeeping forces, which became a permanent feature of its crisis management efforts.Dag Hammarskjold was posthumously awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1961. A leading cultural figure, he was also a writer and translator and one of the 18 members of the Swedish Academy.
Gender equality - a key to our future?
Lena Sommestad, professor of economic history page 24
The present demographic situation in Europe and elsewhere, with low birth rates and ageing populations, highlights the impact of gender relations and family life on economic development. According to a growing body of research, countries that fail to restructure their societies in line with modern women’s demands for equal rights and responsibilities run the risk of curbing population growth, accelerating the ageing of the population, and, in the longer term, slowing down economic growth. Gender equality is usually understood as an issue of political and social rights. In Sweden, however, the struggle for gender equality has also been closely linked with long-term economic and social concerns. Swedish gender equality policies build on a strong tradition of pro-natalist and supportive social policies. This demographic tradition makes the Swedish experience highly relevant to the current European debate about declining birth rates and population ageing. The Swedish welfare state is based on a dual bread-winner model. Sweden has, in other words, adopted a gender-neutral concept of social citizenship. Apart from circumstances directly related to childbirth, married women in Sweden are covered by the same labour, tax and social security legislation as men. No entitlements are targeted at women in their capacity as wives. The state uses separate taxation, generous public day-care provision for pre-school children, and extensive programmes of parental leave to encourage married women/mothers to remain in gainful employment. In short: women’s access to the labour market appears to be a prerequisite for higher birth rates. Women no longer choose between children and careers. It has furthermore been shown that countries that do not stigmatize non-marital cohabitation or extra-marital births have a better chance of maintaining higher fertility levels. Since there is a decline in the marriage rate all over the industrialised world - with later and fewer marriages and more divorces - non-marital births are needed to compensate.
Swedish rebel and feminist role model
Tiina Meri, freelance journalist page 26
All over the world, Pippi Longstocking has encouraged generations of girls to have fun and to believe in themselves. In the process, she has done wonders for gender equality. This year, Astrid Lindgren’s controversial storybook character celebrates her 60th birthday. Pippi Longstocking is in truth an unusual young girl. She is financially independent since she owns a sackful of gold pieces. She can shoot a revolver and sail on the seven seas. She is both cheeky and kind, she can carry a horse and she can outlift the strongest man in the world, Mighty Adolph. Pippi Longstocking is a girl rebel , and for the past 60 years she has been helping to liberate children all over the globe. In her storybook world, she has saved them from adult laws and from the dreaded ‘pluttification’ tables at school. She has also provided them with unlimited amounts of fizzy drink and stood up for the weak and oppressed. So it is not strange that the anti-authoritarian Pippi is censored in dictatorships and conservative states, and that she has aroused the fury of many adults. It is hardly strange that Pippi eventually became something of a role model in the women’s movement. One result has been that in recent decades - at least among adults striving to bring up children in a spirit of gender equality - there has been a desire to make girls as strong, brave, uninhibited, amusing, rebellious and defiant of authority as Pippi.
Swedish Inventions and Discoveries
Malmo: the most beautiful
Vera Gancheva page 34
Carl Fredrik Gildea:
“Bulgarian will be the first language with Cyrillic alphabet in the E.U.”
Interview by Tsvetanka Elenkova page 39
“As my life has turned out, it seems as if things have been chosen for me and not the other way around. Most of my adult life I struggled to find a position in the Academic world, however, I had the bad luck to be dependent on unpleasant and envious colleagues - both in Sweden and in Bulgaria. Part of the problem was of course that Bulgaristics, even Slavistics, is such a small field of study. But also personal animosities exist, for example, when I protested - not publicly, but to the colleagues - about two cases of plagarism and intellectual theft by well-established colleagues, the Department thought it wiser to cover up the scandal and instead they fired me. Well, “vsjako zlo za dobro”: the last few years I have returned to poetry and been working as an actor and filmscript consultant, lately with the directors Lars von Trier and Bjorn Runge. And I must confess that although I have earlier won scholarly, pedagogical and literary awards, it is a quite uplifting experience to be celebrated at film festivals - and that at the very beginning of one’s career; the last year and a half my latest film received 12 international awards. So maybe those years of struggling over Old Bulgarian texts actually did me some good, or prepared me for a career in the film industry, one I had never imagined. It only proves that if you are blessed with failure in everything else, you can always make it in the movies.”
Commercial hands off films!
Peter Curman page 39
under the midnight sun
Claes Britton, writer and editor page 42
During the summer months in Sweden the sun shines around the clock. The midnight sun is a world-famous attraction which cannot be described in words - it simply has to be experienced! Whether your tastes are gentle or extreme - or somewhere in between - summertime is the right time to fully enjoy the magic of the famous Nordic light. The lightest time of all is at the end of June, around midsummer with its magical “white nights”. No less than one sixth of the country’s surface area lies north of the Arctic Circle. The northern latitude makes for a number of extreme light phenomena, especially in Lapland in the far north of the country. Many people opt to go hiking during the midnight sun season. A classic pursuit is climbing Sweden’s highest peak, Kebnekaise, 2104 metres above sea level, in time to reach the top at midnight. From here you can follow the course of the sun as it makes its way over Sarek’s breathtaking mountain scenery, with clear views stretching for hundreds of miles in all directions. Another unforgettable experience is skiing in shorts and t-shirt in the light of the midnight sun in Riksgransen, Europe’s northernmost skiing resort. In the area around the skiing metropolis of Åre in Jamtland, for example, you will find Gevsjostrommarna, Sweden’s steepest navigable stretches of water for fast and furious, world class white-water rafting. Other fine stretches can be found at the Vindel and Byske Rivers in northern Vasterbotten, Kalix River in Norrbotten and Vasterdal River in Dalarna, to name just a few. The centre for alpine climbing is the area around Kebnekaise, with many long, invigorating courses through magnificent mountain scenery. In Sarek’s famous undisturbed wilderness there are several classic and exclusive peak excursions with glorious mountain climbs for the experienced hiker/climber. Sylarna in Jamtland, further south, is popular for its long, varied traverse climb, which takes the hiker from the mountain station in a 12-kilometer loop around the entire massif.
My Europe: The seven miracles of Sweden
Venelin Sapundjiev page 45
I hope God has film library
Janina Dragostinova page 48
Ivaylo Kitsov page 501
The crests of the Kingdom of Sweden
Violeta Velikova-Kosheleva page 52
Young people and athletics -
a winning, new Swedish model
Ingmarie Froman, freelance journalist page 54
The successes of Carolina Kluft, Kajsa Bergqvist, and Christian Olsson have dramatically increased the interest of Swedish children and teenagers in athletics. After every Swedish triumph, curious, sports-hungry children storm athletic clubs. However, once they’re in, the problem becomes keeping them. How do you convince a talented 10-year-old to continue training year in and year out? The answer: fun-filled, group-oriented practices. If you invest in breadth, the elite will grow and flourish. With this in mind, IFK Vaxjo decided to introduce a more coach-oriented leadership and adapt a long-term approach. The group would be the focus and everyone would train together. The club would not single out the best of the lot and ignore the youngsters with only middling talent. Nor would they push the gifted athletes so intensely that they would burn out and give up. A positive, nurturing atmosphere makes the dedicated athletes want to remain in the club, creating fertile soil in which the truly gifted members can thrive. IFK Vaxjo’s motto is: “The wide base will provide the top.”
Jonas Gardell, Goran Sonevi,
|Translated by Galia B. Cholakova
Revised by Jonathan Dunne