Photo: Catarina Axelsson/MFA
New Government in Sweden. New Government in Poland.
There are of course significant differences behind these changes in our two countries. Sweden held elections. Hence, a new Government was formed based on that result consisting of the Social Democratic Party and the Green Party. In Poland the coalition remains the same. The change was as we all know triggered by the election of former PM Donald Tusk as the President of the European Council.
However we have new Prime Ministers and new Foreign Ministers in both our countries. Heads of Government: Stefan Löfven in Sweden and Ewa Kopacz in Poland. Ministers of Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström in Sweden and Grzegorz Schetyna in Poland.
Stefan Löfven has been chairman of the Social Democratic Party for more than two years and has a background as leader of one the majortrade unions. Margot Wallström has i.a. held many ministerial positions (including that of Social Affairs) and was Swedish Commissioner in the EU for a decade.
Of the 24 Ministers 12 are women and 12 are men.http://www.swedenabroad.com/pl-PL/Embassies/Warsaw/Wiadomoci-i-wydarzenia/Wiadomoci/W-pitek-3-padziernika-premier-Szwecji-Stefan-Lofven-przedstawi-nowy-rzd-sys/
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs however has, for the first time in history, four women and no men in the key positions as Ministers and State Secretaries.
The new Prime Minister presented the Ministers and the Programme of the new Government – the exposé to borrow the Polish expression:http://www.government.se/sb/d/2031/a/247569. The Eastern neighbourhood was clearly highlighted: “Russia’s annexation of Crimea is a breach of international law. Russia’s destabilisation of Ukraine must cease. Developments in our eastern neighbourhood will be one of our greatest challenges.”
New Governments mean new interesting challenges – and inspiring assignments. The most obvious one is perhaps related to the simple fact that we are supposed to report to our Ministry about the policy and personalities of the Government in Poland. One that will become increasingly important during the weeks and months ahead of us is related to the Polish-Swedish declaration on cooperation in areas of strategic importance (with key documents to be found in a couple of pdf-files through this link:http://www.swedenabroad.com/sv-SE/Ambassader/Warszawa/Landfakta/Om-Polen/Polsk-svenska-samarbetsdeklarationen–sys/).
We will simply work hard together with our Polish colleagues to facilitate further and intensified contacts in line with the declaration. So much is already ongoing, not least in the area of the Eastern Partnership and the EU Baltic Sea Strategy – but the potential is huge. (One interesting example was the seminar held last week on the role of police in crime prevention when two Swedish experts, Erik Wennerström and Jerzy Sarnecki, participated in a mutual Polish-Swedish experience sharing).
When we tomorrow receive our two colleagues from the EU Department in Stockholm, Isabella Törngren and Jan Amberg, here in Warsaw the Polish-Swedish cooperation and its continuation will be on top of our agenda.
Then I look forward to the regional visit to Podlasie organised by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, starting Friday. These visits provide excellent entry points to knowledge and contacts in the regions we visit. I have been to Białystok but never to the National Park of Białowieża. Additionally the weather forecasts look great. Autumn is the best time in Poland. I think that is now my firm opinion, experiencing this beatiful season with all its colours for the fourth time in a row.