Posts Tagged ‘government lobbying’

Sweden tries to buy votes for Security Council place

April 5, 2016

Five UN Security Council places (non-permanent) come up for election in June 2016. Sweden is competing against Italy and the Netherlands for the “Western European and Others” place.

The elections are for five non-permanent seats on the UN Security Council for two-year mandates commencing on 1 January 2017. The five members will serve on the Security Council for the 2017–18 period.

No doubt there is heavy lobbying going on. A UNSC place is seen as a strategic – and ideological – objective by the Social Democrat /Environment party government. The Social Democrats especially see the UN as a minor God and they have already canonised themselves as Saints. (Their sanctimonious self-image has been dented lately as they have been forced to take less than “friendly” actions in stopping the influx of “refugees”).

In any event, the Social Democrats were faced with the problem of how to fund their lobbying activities while not seeming to bribe “poor” countries for their votes and tarnishing their own self-righteous, self-image of propriety. So they chose a round-about method of inviting 27 UN ambassadors of “poor countries” to an all expenses-paid jaunt in Sweden under the guise of an “environment seminar”. They funded the whole business through a number of intermediary institutions to hide the fact that the money was coming from the Foreign Aid budget and that the whole “bribery tourism” was organised by the Foreign Ministry. The Foreign Ministry arranged the “gift packages ” for the UN ambassadors (note that those invited were not environment ministers but UN ambassadors). It is not often that UN ambassadors get their business class air tickets and five-star hotel bills paid for by a foreign country. What exactly was contained within the “gift packages” is not known. The environment seminar, just for these 27 country ambassadors, was an attempt by Sweden to cash in on its “environment credentials” just before the Paris conference. A similar jamboree was also arranged in March 2015.

By FIFA standards, the Swedish bribes were just small potatoes and normally I would expect Italy and the Netherlands to have provided more. But a  UNSC place is probably of more prestige value to the Social Democrats in Sweden. There is nothing wrong, I think, in lobbying. It is trying to hide it which is despicable. The sanctimonious, self-righteous facade which covers Swedish foreign policy is always despicable but it has reached new heights (or should it be depths) with this government. If it was all for the interests of the country it wouldn’t matter much, but for the Social Democrats, ideology often overrides country interests (Palestine, Saudi Arabia, the PKK ….).

(I observe that the left parties in Europe and including the Social Democrats in Sweden, in their ideological zeal to support the Palestinians often come close to being anti-semitic. And they get into a tangle when supporting a Kurdistan).

Kronprinsessan och Prins Daniel tillsammans med ambassadörerna.

Crown Princess and Prince Daniel with the Ambassadors. Photo

Swedish Television:

Ambassadors from 27 island nations and poor countries were treated to a free trip to Sweden in August. The official reason for the visit was a climate seminar. The bills running into millions were sent to the  Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, who in turn received 14 million kronor of Sida’s aid money.

The common factor for the visitors was that they each have one vote in the UN General Assembly, which in June will appoint new members to the Security Council.

To get a seat in the UN Security Council has been one of the current government’s major foreign policy goals. …..

After the disclosure the government … writes that aid money was also used at another opportunity to invite UN Ambassadors on a trip to Sweden. On March 10,  27 representatives of several small island states met the Aid Minister Isabella Lövin (MP) and Foreign Minister Margot Wallström (S), during a visit to Sweden at the invitation of the Dag Hammarksköld Foundation. ….

…… Niclas Kvarnström Manager of the Security Council candidacy, said that the UN ambassadors’ visit was a collaboration between the Foundation and the Foreign Ministry. …..

During the visit, the ambassadors lunched with Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom, had coffee with Aid Minister Isabella Lövin and had dinner with Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. 

But the program was not mentioned publicly …. and they made no press releases.

The UN ambassadors also met Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel who received them at the  royal palace.

The Social Democrats together with the Environmental party makes for a dangerous mix. They are particularly good at “Do as I say and ignore what I do”


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