In praise of Sweden's EU attitude!
A two-day trip to Sweden was the chance for Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič to praise Swedish MPs for their commitment to playing a part in EU decision-making and to urge young Swedish voters to exercise their democrat rights in next May's European elections.
Speaking to MPs and ministers at the Riksdag on 27 March, VP Šefčovič welcomed their continued commitment to scrutinise proposed new EU legislation, to make sure that it is fit for purpose. The Swedish parliament has in fact sent more comments back to the Commission on legislative proposals than any other in the EU – a clear indication that Sweden's MPs are keen to get involved in making EU rules as fit-for-purpose as possible.
The first day of VP Šefčovič's trip was rounded off with an interactive Q&A session with young Swedish voters at the House of Europe (the home of the European Commission and European Parliament offices in Stockholm), during which he took the opportunity to highlight some of the reasons for young people in particular to go out and vote on 25 May.
The freedom to live, work and study wherever they want, with borderless travel and safe in the knowledge that their rights are protected wherever they are in Europe are among the many benefits to citizens brought by the EU, he stressed.
The second day of the visit saw VP Šefčovič move from Stockholm to Uppsala, the home of one of Europe's oldest universities (founded in 1477) and the alma mater of Linnaeus, Celsius, Strindberg and at least eight Nobel Prize winning scientists, among many other illustrious alumnae.
Speaking to current students at the university, VP Šefčovič stressed the importance of Europe's history when thinking about its future – in particular with regard to the rise in n nationalist and Eurosceptic thinking across Europe which carries with it echoes of the continent's war-torn past.
Again taking the opportunity to encourage citizens to go out and vote, VP Šefčovič stressed that there was a strong possibility that those Eurosceptic voices would be among the loudest in the next European Parliament, with the risk that many of the rights we all take for granted could be lost as a result of a more backwards-looking approach to EU integration.