Birgitta Ohlsson has been named as the new Swedish EU minister. Ohlsson is a high-profile and outspoken advocate of social feminism, equality and civil liberty issues in addition to her strong NATO support. She also has expressed a desire to one day fulfil a leading United Nations human rights posting.
“She is in many ways the antithesis of the sort of law and order liberal typified by her party leader Jan Bjorklund – she’s a true social liberal,” according to The Local’s political affairs analyst James Savage. “She is an ambitious politician. As such, I think she fully understands the constraints of collective responsibility now that she is part of the government,” said Savage when asked if Ohlsson’s strong views, which often conflict with her party and within government itself, could represent a problem in the lead up to the general election.
After chairing her party’s youth league until 2002 Ohlsson went on to chair the Liberala Kvinnor women’s association where she defined herself as a both a republican and media-savvy liberal feminist in the nominally right wing Liberal Party. She missed out on the position of Minister for Integration and Gender Equality after the 2006 elections, but used her position as foreign affairs spokesperson to campaign for the adoption of the euro and full Swedish NATO membership.
Also chairing the Swedish Republican Association, which openly opposes the monarchy and has widespread support across parliament, Ohlsson has been favoured for the EU post since Cecilia Malmstrom became the nation’s EU commissioner.