Sweden politely lays down the law

Not since the glory days of Gustav Adolf the Great has Sweden wielded such power in Central Europe.  It’s been a busy day.  First, PM and European Council President Fredrik Reinfeldt held a meeting with under pressure Czech PM Jan Fischer to discuss the status of Czech ratification efforts on the Lisbon Treaty (in an omen, Fischer’s plane was delayed).  The other two European “Presidents” (commission and parliament) were also there.   Reinfeldt’s careful formulation: “it is important that we are flexible and ready to act”, meaning that no more pressure on the Czechs on top of what is already there, but background preparations for treaty implementation will proceed nonetheless.  Meaning specific job descriptions and candidates for the positions of permanent Council president and foreign policy representative.   So formally nothing gets done prior to ratification, but things move at lightning speed once Mr Klaus gets out his quill.   In the meantime, the Swedish minister for EU Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, will go to Prague to gauge the state of affairs on the ground.

But wait, there’s more.  Sweden’s finance minister Anders Borg has put the cat among the pigeons on the fiscal restructuring package for Latvia, which is a complicated mix of support from IMF, EU, and Nordic countries.  Essentially he argued that unless the promised cuts are delivered in the forthcoming budget, the Nordic component won’t be delivered as planned.  And this as the Latvian government works on legislation to convert loans into the non-recourse variety.  While the specifics of these moves may be somewhat surprising, the big picture is that the inevitable dynamics of choosing internal devaluation over external devaluation are playing out as Edward has been warning here for months.

That’s a lot of action over 4 days.  We may not say it often, but keep a close eye on Stockholm for the next while.

UDPATE 8 OCTOBER: PM Reinfeldt had what sounds like a truly bizarre conversation with Czech President Klaus in which Klaus asked for a 2 sentence footnote to the Lisbon treaty.  This looks rather mischievous since the footnote could easily have been agreed at the European Council summit which gave Ireland the treaty clarifications that it wanted.

7 thoughts on “Sweden politely lays down the law

  1. Tough to be scandinavian and expecting people to do what they´ve promised to after shaking hands. Now the b*ds are threathening with a new law allowing the inbedted to be able to leave the apartment keys to the bank and thereby be solved from all debt. Obviously Swedish banks are to be the scape-goats in the baltic drama.
    We are about to see a crash of cultures within the EU. The eastern “save the tears ´til it´s time to pay”, the southern “tommorrow is another day” and the northern as mentioned.
    On the other hand, in less than three months Spain will have the presidency….

  2. Interesting how Lisbon avoided the French rejection of the Constitution problem by not asking them this time.

    Is there likely any problem with the UK if Labor loses?

  3. Bjorn- BINGO, that is a moment I’m waiting for. It will blow sky high at the euro land. Not to blame USA any more. I’m Lithuanian, living in USA, and believe me, I know east Europe mentality, why I’m far away from homeland. Here is not good but still:)

  4. I read hints that this footnote may have to do with compensation demands related to seizures of property from Sudeten Germans in 1945-6.

    To me, this raises other post-war settlement issues. Can you deport Sudenten Germans and expect them to stay deported for ever? Can you shift Poland bodily westwards and expect it to stay shifted for ever?

    I wonder if we are in for our own “post-Versailles” period.

  5. “But a real issue for Klaus or a stunt?”

    It could be a real issue for him, but a stunt for others. I’m not Czech, but I can imagine Czechs of a certain age wanting to nail the settlement down explicitly while they have the chance. It would remove it from the possibility of majority voting later on.

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