Feb 19, 2007

Scania: Swedish Issues Addressed

Regionalism and potential regional reform in Sweden are discussed in Göran Hansson’s, UNPO Member Representative and Presidency Member, blog dedicated to Scania.

Below are excerpts from Blog Skaneland, hosted by Göran Hansson, UNPO Member Representative to Scania and UNPO Presidency Member:

"Nationalistic Smoke Screen

The upcoming proposal of the Ansvarskommittén, about the division of Sweden into more or less self-governing regions, is stirring the emotions of the elite. Instead of opening up for a common debate involving the people it really concerns, the professional pundits and oracles are airing their opinions in the papers.

The Ansvarskommittén proposes, if the information leaked to the press is correct, that the new regional Sweden will come into effect already by 2010. One critic, interviewed in the Stockholm newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, calls it: “to move too fast is a flagrant outrage on the electorate”.  [..] Another one, a state county governor (one of the 24 who will be out of work in 2010) says: “The proposal will arouse enormous protests. I know already that there are people who will start a 4th of October movement against it all”.


Another influential party politician says: “It is dead dangerous if this type of changes becomes an elite project which only engages politicians. There must be a popular support for the project and they must be able to see the benefits”. Yeah, good idea – let the pros and cons be known to us all, not only to the elite! [...]

Unfair competition

There is a struggle taking place in Europe. Many of the culture regions will no longer accept to be dictated by central state governments. Through the European Union the central state governments and the regions are at odds with each other about where political decisions are best taken - at the EU, the state or the regional levels.

But the regions are in a disadvantageous position. The state government controls politics, public administration, the UN, the EU decision-making establishment as well as much of the public capital through taxation. In order to make their voices heard, in this overwhelming state political environment, many organisations in Europe – such as the SSF – are joining in European organisations and NGOs in order to establish themselves and further their causes.

At this point in time the Swedish government is proposing that the Swedish military (FRA) should be given the right and authority to monitor all internet and telephone traffic crossing the Swedish borders (in addition to the Security Police (Säpo) who is already doing it). The purpose is, the government says, to intercept suspected criminal communications across the Swedish borders.

Does that mean that those groups, who exercise their fundamental right to freely congregate, risk telephone and Internet surveillance by the state government? The same state government which is a party to the present European regional/state power struggle?

Why does the state government need to take to these unfair measurements to maintain control instead of openly advocate for and defend its legitimacy and existence?

Sweden – a Unity State?

The most remarkable main editorial of the largest newspaper in Sweden – the Stockholm based Dagens Nyheter – was published last week. It was a response to the leakage of some of the contents of the upcoming inquiry report (Ansvarskommittén) on the future division of Sweden, maybe into six to nine regions with limited autonomy or self-government.

Link to editorial

Quote: “Sweden may be a wide and stretched country, but we are not all that many, only nine million. Sweden is a unity state - thank Axel Oxenstierna and Gustav Vasa for that! Here is no tradition of self-governing entities, no culturally diverse regions and we have extended wishes for homogeneous uniformity. … snip … On the contrary, we have a strong support around the national arena, the government and the parliament are not questioned, it is those institutions that should rule Sweden. It should be those which should guarantee the public welfare during this present century – not county council or regional parliaments.”

Axel Oxenstierna and Gustav Vasa had their time 400 years ago when the military expansion of the region of Svealand started. During the following 200 years, territories were conquered by military might or colonised - as in the case of Sameland. [...]

No tradition? The regions never had a chance or opportunity to exercise the "tradition" of self-government due to the tight rule by the central government. That doesn’t mean that they do not want to, if given the chance. Nor doesn’t it mean that they do not exist."