The Local, July 7, 2011
At a press conference on Thursday, resigning Centre Party head and minister for enterprise and energy, Maud Olofsson, revealed that her speech at Almedalen later this evening will point out the three top priority challenges for the Centre Party to tackle in the future.
“I get extremely depressed when I see how poorly we’ve managed integration. I’m so tired of hearing about immigrants being stigmatised and described in solely negative terms, such as unemployment and criminality,” said Olofsson.
The first challenge therefore is making Sweden a “settler country”, where immigrants are welcomed, and invited to help make Sweden strong.
The second challenge is creating a Sweden where entrepreneurs can blossom, and small innovative companies can grow.
The third challenge, according to Olofsson, is creating a green and sustainable Sweden.
“Interest in environmental issues is dropping, while carbon dioxide emissions continue to grow. It seems we can only discuss one thing at a time.”
Olofsson also presented an open letter to her successor, and to her colleagues in the centre-right alliance. In her letter they are encouraged to cherish those agreements the alliance has made, particularly within energy politics. Olofsson points out that this was the most difficult deal to make, for the Centre Party.
She also reminds them that one of the central point behind the political alliance was that all the parties should be able to contribute and gain from the cooperation.
“I think a great challenge from here on will be to make sure that all four parties are visible and continue to grow,” writes Olofsson.
“Everyone has to feel that they have something to gain from this cooperation.”
Within the Centre Party there has recently been some discontent with the Moderate Party’s overbearing role in the alliance.
Olofsson did not want to criticise the Moderates at the press conference, however, nor did she express concern that her successor would not cherish the alliance cooperation, instead explaining that she simply wrote the open letter to ensure that the “original sentiment” behind the cooperation is preserved.
Her speech on Thursday evening will be her tenth and last at Almedalen. At the press conference Olofsson fought to contain her tears when speaking of her decade as Centre Party leader.
“I’m grateful to have been a part of the political world, and to have been allowed to lead the Centre Party and Sweden. But now it feels good to be handing over the relay baton,” she said.
At the end of the press conference Olofsson was unable to hold back her tears, and had to ask her staff for a handkerchief.