New Swedish Government Does Away with Ultra-Liberal ‘Feminist Foreign Policy’

[Photo Credit: By European People's Party - EPP Zagreb Congress in Croatia, 20-21 November 2019, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=84248278]

Sweden’s new right-wing administration said on Tuesday that it will abandon the country’s pioneering “feminist foreign policy,” initiated by the country’s then far-left government in 2014, claiming that the moniker was now counter-productive to the nation’s interests.

Tobias Billstrom, the new Foreign Minister, made the announcement shortly after Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson revealed the identity of his new administration, which was backed for the first time by the conservative Sweden Democrats.

The notion of running a “feminist foreign policy” has been adopted by numerous western countries in recent years, but it has also caused consternation among others, particularly those in the Middle East.

Sweden stated in a 2021 document that it had helped contribute to new legislation on female political participation in countries like Moldova and Somalia.

In addition it also pressed for the inclusion of gender equality topics in Colombia’s 2016 peace accords.

However, in 2015, comments from a Swedish official that were critical of Saudi Arabia’s record on women’s rights led the Middle East powerhouse to recall its ambassador to Stockholm.

An incident which highlighted some of the pit falls of running a foreign policy based off of far-left ideology.

Margot Wallstrom, Sweden’s former foreign minister, created the term in 2014, putting gender equality at the forefront of the country’s diplomatic agenda.

Its goals included the promotion of economic emancipation for women and the increasing women’s political participation around the globe.

On Tuesday, many publications on the matter were being removed from the foreign ministry’s website.

“But we’re not going to use the expression ‘feminist foreign policy’ because labels on things have a tendency to cover up the content,” new foreign minister Tobias Billstrom said.

Sweden is the birthplace of the famous teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has led a large and controversial worldwide campaign involving millions of young people that has ignited a flood of debate about the alleged dangers of climate change.

Kristersson announced Sweden’s minority coalition government on Friday after reaching an agreement with two smaller parties, the Christian Democrats and the Liberals.

The Sweden Democrats will stay outside the government, but have promised to support it in parliament in exchange for policy pledges, particularly on immigration and crime.

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