When the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, hosted a seminar on the development in Russia, held by famous Russian expert, Lilia Shevtsova, the hall was packed.

– I see Russia as a phenomenon. In that sense I agree with Putin, she started.

Lilia Shevtsova is one of the most prominent experts on Russia and its neighbors. She has written several books on Russian politics and she contributes regularly to foreign affairs debates. Last week, she visited Sweden to share her view on Putin, the occupation of Crimea and the Russian people’s attitude towards the worrying development.

The road to democracy has been more complicated and taken more time than we thought, Shevtsova introduced. Russia is struggling with both domestic and foreign policy problems. Traditionalism, nationalism and personalized leadership dominate together with imperial ambitions. (more…)

On December 3-5, the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation invited representatives and leaders for the Moderate party’s sister organisations in the Balkans as well as other organisations and politicians concerned to a round-table conference in Stockholm. The red thread throughout the discussions were the recent developments in the region and the outlook for continuous European integration of the Balkan states into the European Union. Host of the conference was Göran Lennmarker, Chariman of the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation. (more…)

Today, Swedish Foreign Minister, Mr. Carl Bildt presented the Statement of Swedish Foreign Policy in the Swedish Parliament. He started by emphasizing the importance of the European cooperation and the support within EU for peace, freedom, democracy and human rights.

Furthermore, Mr. Bildt condemned the violence in Ukraine and urged the leaders of the country to together with the opposition, seek a peaceful way to political reforms.

Moreover, the Foreign Minister brought up the alarming situation in Syria, the development in Iran and the Swedish decision to contribute with military to the the conflict in Mali.

Other topics that were raised were the UN cooperation, climate issues and freedom on the internet. Here you can read the statement:

Statement of Government Policy in the Parliamentary Debate on Foreign Affairs

Utrikesminister Carl Bildt

Foreign Minister Carl Bildt

February 13, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt presented the Government’s Statement of Foreign Policy in the Parliament. The Statement of Foreign Policy is the Government’s annual report on Sweden’s role in the world, and a presentation of the upcoming year’s goals and priorities in foreign-, aid-, trade- and security policies. (more…)

September 26, Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt participated in a seminar organized by the International Peace Institute (IPI) on “The Future of Internet Governance: Freedom, Security and Development.”

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February 15, Foreign Minister Carl Bildt presented the Swedish Government’s Policy in the 2012 Parliamentary Debate on Foreign Affairs. The declaration presents Sweden’s view of EU developments, the status of human rights, international crises and developments in the Middle East and North Africa, along with development assistance, trade and climate policy.

Read the entire declaration here

From left Ulrik Nilsson, Elisabeth Björnsdotter Rahm, Stefan Caplan och Margareta Cederfelt.

Opportunities for electoral fraud were definitely present, said four moderate MPs who visited Russia during the Duma elections on December 4. On Thursday the team shared their experiences and analysis at a breakfast seminar arranged by the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation.

In particular, the election observers pointed out, there were ample opportunities to cheat during the so-called mobile voting (for elderly at home) and at the many unattended ballot boxes in the more than 90,000 polling stations around the country. Ulrik Nilsson mentioned electoral lists where United Russia had beforehand been marked with a cross. Stefan Caplan noted that at some of the polling stations, he visited, there were more ballots than voters, after polling closed!

“United Russia’s grip of the Russian soul is decreasing significantly”, said Ulrik Nilsson at the breakfast seminar when he was asked about what the election results might lead to.

He and other observers gave the audience a unique insight into what happened in a number of the many polling stations. The images showed flaws in the system which allows for cheating and fraud.

Lack of valsekretess was also something that many of the observers noted. How ballots reviewed by election officials (all have a ballot where you check for the party you vote for) and how many people voted together. (more…)

In Thursday, the UN Human Rights Council adopted by consensus a decision to arrange a panel discussion on freedom of expression on the Internet at its next session in March 2012. The decision was adopted on the initiative of Sweden, with the support of over fifty states from throughout the world. This will be the first time that the Council discusses the issue of freedom of expression on the Internet.

“This is a major success for Sweden, which has pushed for the human rights issue to apply online as well as offline”, says Carl Bildt, Minister for Foreign Affairs. (more…)

The Nordic and Baltic countries today signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding posting of diplomats in each other’s missions abroad. The agreement will facilitate the Nordic and Baltic countries to maintain a diplomatic presence around the world through flexible and cost effective solutions.

Read ther pressrelease (in Swedish)

Today Monday August 8, 2011, during the hearing of Yulia Tymoshenko’s criminal case, the Court dismissed an appeal from the former prime minister to release her from jail. Last Friday Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine’s top opposition leader and former prime minister, was arrested during her own trial following the judge’s decreed she was guilty of “systematically” disrupting proceedings. Yulia Tymoshenko was led from the courtroom and transferred to a detention centre under heavy police escort.

According to the judge there is no reason to change the decision regarding arrest because, in the appeal from Yulia Tymoshenko’s defense, there is no objective explanation in accordance with the Ukrainian law.  (more…)