kolmapäev, oktoober 25, 2006

Interest Surrounds Bildt's Investments, EU Aspirations

Carl Bildt is the latest member of the new Swedish cabinet to become immersed in the critical eye of the media, and -- unlike the television fee scandals of two weeks ago -- it appears that he may have a genuine 'conflict of interest.' It has been reported that Bildt, who appears to have been stereotyped as a rich boy from a wealthy part of Stockholm, has some investments in the Russian energy industry. At the same time, Bildt is possibly debating whether or not he should hang onto his post of foreign minister or assume a higher ranking post in the EU.

Kommersant reports:

Bildt is naturally interested in the success of his business, which means prosperity for Russian natural resources companies. His opponents say this is the reason for the excessively lenient policy of the Swedish foreign ministry towards Moscow.

Urban Ahlin of Swedish Social Democrats believes that Carl Bildt did not give an adequately stiff reaction to the murder of the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Observers note that the new foreign minister is extremely cautious making any statements relating to Russia.

I wrote earlier that the appointment of Bildt was a good thing because he has a first hand relationship of Estonia and could be counted on to support Estonia internationally. Like many great powers, Sweden's shadow is larger than it's actual body. Here I am in New York buying IKEA furniture and driving a Volvo. Roads and plazas are named all over the US for Swedish diplomats like Raoul Wallenberg and Dag Hammarskjold - though none have been named for Hans Blix yet. It seems that Bildt might also be eyeing a similar international role, beyond Sweden.

As Sveriges Radio International reports:

There’s speculation that Sweden’s new Foreign Minister Carl Bildt may soon be moving on to a top job in the European Union.

The EU Observer says speculation is mounting that the union’s foreign policy spokesman Javier Solana may step down for health reasons. Bildt, along with the former prime ministers of Slovakia and Austria, is named as a top candidate.

According to the EU Observer, insiders say Bildt is not hiding his ambitions to obtain the top job. The foreign minister has recently come under fire here in Sweden because of his financial interests in the Russian company Gazprom, which might be a conflict of interest.

Investments aside, it could benefit Estonia - and the whole Baltic Sea region - to have someone who has personal contacts in these countries in such a post. What do you think - would Bildt as foreign policy spokesman change anything, or would it just lead to more of the same?

5 kommentaari:

Anonüümne ütles ...

Remember, it was Sweden that gave in to Moscow's demand to recognise the annexation of the Balts -- something that Göran Persson and others have apologised enough times for. But remember Sweden will always act in its own interests first. They like Estonia, but don't always think they will do what's best for Estonia.

Giustino ütles ...

But remember Sweden will always act in its own interests first. They like Estonia, but don't always think they will do what's best for Estonia.

Sweden sadly did little to help Norway too. So much for Scandinavian solidarity.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Swedes are clever like foxes when it goes to politics and mainly looking out for themselves. How do you think they managed to keep out of all the action in WW2.

Estonia in World Media (Rus) ütles ...

I used to believe in Sweden.

Giustino ütles ...

I used to believe in Sweden.

Sometimes, I feel like they are fairly self-absorbed. Like if the rest of the world blew up, Sweden would be just fine so long as there was enough pop music on the radio and the stores were still stocked with vodka and chocolate.