Cablegate: Scenesetter for Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt Visit to Washington
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S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 STOCKHOLM 000677
FROM AMBASSADOR BARZUN FOR THE PRESIDENT
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/27/2019
TAGS: PREL ECON ETRD EFIN SENV EUN SW
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR SWEDISH PRIME MINISTER REINFELDT VISIT TO WASHINGTON
REF: BRUSSELS 1461 STOCKHOLM 00000677 001.2 OF 004
Classified By: Ambassador Matthew Barzun for reasons 1.4 (B) & (D).
1. (C) Mr. President, You will meet with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt next week when he leads the EU Troika delegation at the U.S.-EU Summit in Washington. Reinfeldt was an early public supporter of your candidacy and strongly endorses many aspects of your global agenda, including climate change, global economic recovery, and a whole government approach to Afghanistan. His center-right, four-party coalition government (called "The Alliance") is pro-U.S. and supports deeper transatlantic ties. Reinfeldt's party even calls for Sweden to join NATO, though not all his coalition partners think the issue is ready for full consideration -- especially eleven months before general elections here. Reinfeldt and his Foreign Minister Carl Bildt have a fairly straightforward division of labor on EU Presidency issues: Reinfeldt works on climate change and the solving the financial crisis, while Bildt tackles the details of most other foreign policy issues.
2. (C) Reinfeldt and other Swedish foreign policy leaders are an intriguing bunch. Sometimes they are quick to take a surprising hard line (as with Russia's invasion of Georgia) and sometimes they are so slow to come around that they drag EU decision-making to a halt (as with EU autonomous sanctions on Iran). Under Reinfeldt, Sweden has just recommitted to working with us in Afghanistan for the "long term." Sweden has increased its number of troops in the northern part of the country from 100 in 2005 to 450 currently to 500 during 2010. Sweden also supports a robust EU election observer mission this fall. Sweden has used its role as EU President to pursue objectives that compliment ours, including deepening EU ties to the Western Balkans and other former Soviet states. Reinfeldt is one of a few EU leaders who publicly support Turkey's EU membership, and Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has been active on both Turkish accession issues and Cyprus. But on Guantanamo and Iran, Sweden can and should do more. Reinfeldt's government welcomed your call for the closure of the detention facility, but has yet to demonstrate the political will to accept detainees for resettlement in Sweden. On Iran, Sweden has hampered efforts by the EU to impose additional sanctions, arguing that a UN Security Council resolution is needed first. A direct request to Reinfeldt for Swedish leadership on these issues would be important.
3. (SBU) Reinfeldt's top priority for the Swedish EU Presidency is a successful outcome at the December COP-15 climate change negotiations. He has focused Sweden's EU Presidency on an "eco-efficient" economy for Europe, i.e. growing the economy while reducing carbon emissions. (Between 1992-2008, Sweden increased GDP 46% and reduced green house gas emissions by 9%). Realizing that a comprehensive agreement is unlikely without U.S. legislation in place, Reinfeldt told his officials to cease criticizing U.S. climate change policy and to seek a political agreement to resolve some issues, such as financing, with a commitment to conclude a comprehensive treaty with emission targets in early 2010. The day after he meets with you, Reinfeldt will travel to India for the EU Summit there. Later in November, he will travel to China for that EU Summit. Because Reinfeldt is focusing the India and China Summits on climate change, we recommend you coordinate messages to those governments with him when you meet.
4. (SBU) Swedish officials have told us we need to understand how important climate change is to Reinfeldt -- that it is "in his heart." Reinfeldt talks about climate change constantly and is directly active in trying to manage the negotiating process among EU Member States heading into COP 15. His governing coalition has pinned much of its hopes for re-election on a successful EU Presidency, and how voters judge Sweden's EU Presidency will depend considerably on what happens in Copenhagen. Opinion polls in Sweden show around 85% of people putting environmental issues as the top priority their government should address.
5. (C) The main public theme of Sweden's EU Presidency has been the drive toward an "eco-efficient" economy, i.e. growing the economy while reducing carbon emissions, which Sweden has done successfully after introducing a carbon tax in the early 1990's. Realizing that a comprehensive agreement STOCKHOLM 00000677 002.2 OF 004 is unlikely without U.S. legislation in place, Reinfeldt ordered his Cabinet to stop criticizing U.S. climate change policy, and since then his officials have become more pragmatic, telling us it is important to "deliver something even it if is not the end of the road." In the absence of a legally binding treaty, Sweden and EU officials will seek a framework or political agreement to resolve some issues, such as financing, with a commitment to conclude a comprehensive treaty with emission targets in early 2010. Swedish officials are concerned, however, that we are running out of time to agree on climate change financing before Copenhagen. The Swedish Presidency is using EU Summits with Brazil, South Africa, Russia, China and India to push for progress on climate change. Swedish officials have called on the U.S. to show greater leadership in pressing the emerging economies to seriously discuss climate change financing.
6. (C) Reinfeldt will be traveling to India and China in November, and you may wish to coordinate message with him when you meet. Sweden has a long-standing, well-developed dialogue with China on climate change and reducing the energy intensity of China's economy. This includes regular exchanges between environmental officials, a Swedish-Chinese advisory panel to the Chinese government on climate change, and Swedish companies like Volvo holding their firms in China to the same environmental standards as for plants in Sweden. Reinfeldt's State Secretary for Climate Change Lars Erik Liljelund, who frequently visits China, tells us China looks to Sweden as a model on climate change and other issues because Sweden was the first Western country to recognize the Mao regime (in 1950), and is viewed by China as a good example of a "harmonious society" with a highly developed social benefits, taxation and environmental protection system. Liljelund says this special relationship is helping Sweden push China to reduce the energy intensity of its economy. Liljelund and Reinfeldt's State Secretary for Internal Policy Coordination have both suggested that the U.S. and Sweden coordinate efforts to narrow the gap between Chinese and U.S. positions in the climate change negotiations.
7. (SBU) Reinfeldt has let Finance Minister Anders Borg take the lead on coordinating the Swedish and EU response to the financial crisis, concerning himself with the issue of executive bonuses. There, the European and U.S. interpretations of the Financial Supervisory Board (FSB) standards differ. While the U.S. believes a substantial part of executive remuneration should be variable, Sweden shares the widely held European view that it is impossible to construct a system that manages variable compensation in a way that reduces risk. The European Council has nearly completed work on its Capital Regulatory Directive, which will include executive bonuses. The Swedes hope it will be approved at the November 20 meeting of EU Financial Ministers (ECOFIN).
8. (SBU) Finance Minister Borg has warned about the dangers of creating two different financial systems between the U.S. and Europe if there is insufficient coordination on regulatory reform. Finance Ministry officials tell us they would like to coordinate with the U.S. "as much as possible," but can only coordinate "as much as allowed" by EU Member States.
9. (SBU) Reinfeldt and his government affirm that they are commited to Afghanistan for the "long-term," but can and should increase their commitment. Sweden has some 450 troops in four provinces in Regional Command-North, joined by 200 Norwegians and Finns, runs two OMLTs, and plans to deploy a third in 2010, when the Swedes will add some 50 troops. A Swedish C-130 was in country during the August elections, and will be redeployed next year, along with Swedish medevac helicopters. Sweden is sending additional development experts and upping its development aid to Afghanistan to roughly $75 million per year for each of the next three years.
10. (SBU) On the civilian side, Sweden wants to strengthen the EU Police Mission (EUPOL) in Afghanistan. Although it has only nine million people, Sweden has 16 police officers and STOCKHOLM 00000677 003.2 OF 004 civilians in EUPOL; if all EU Member States contributed at Sweden's proportional level, EUPOL vacancies would be filled several times over. The Swedes are frustrated that other EU Member States have not done more to support EUPOL and Foreign Minister Bildt is leading an effort to pressure reluctant capitals. On the multilateral front, Bildt has directed the rewriting of the EU Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy, leading to a pledge to increase EU civilians, better coordinate EU missions in Afghanistan, and increase focus on strengthening Afghan capacity for self-governance.
11. (S) Reinfeldt has urged a "pragmatic" approach to Iran, including dialogue and cooperation, although his public comments on Iran lack the comprehensive details that are often part of Foreign Minister Bildt's statements. Reinfeldt is committed to opposing Iranian nuclear programs, but favors a unified EU approach rather than a specific Swedish position, especially during the Presidency. Sweden has hampered EU efforts to impose additional sanctions, arguing that a UN Security Council resolution is needed first. Reinfeldt publicly opposed President Ahmadinejad's appointment of Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi. At a press conference in September, Reinfeldt warned that if Iran "decides to go for confrontation, then confrontation will happen." Similar statements have also been made by FM Bildt who has, since September, publicly advocated the use of sanctions to support a diplomatic dialogue. For economic reasons, Sweden is generally skeptical about the effectiveness of sanctions and in particular with Iran, where Ericsson and Volvo Trucks, among other Swedish companies, have significant export markets.
12. (SBU) One of Sweden's quiet success stories over the past few months is the launching of the Eastern Partnership (EaP). The EaP seeks to improve the EU's bilateral relationships with six former Soviet states (Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia), while encouraging democratic reforms and economic liberalization. Bilateral programs under EaP offer qualifying countries the possibility of deep free trade agreements, energy sector development, gradual easing of visa restrictions, and cooperation on border control. Russia remains suspicious of the EaP, claiming that the six countries fall within a presumed Russian geo-political "sphere of influence," which neither the U.S. nor the EU accepts. Once started, the EaP will pump approximately 800 million Euros annually into their economies, growing to over 1.3 billion Euros by 1013. The meeting provides an excellent opportunity for you to publicly endorse the Partnership.
13. (C) Sweden is wary of Russia but recognizes the commercial, political, energy and environmental ties that bind each to the other. Sweden's relations with Russia have been generally pragmatic since the end of the Cold War. Sweden seeks to engage Moscow, but the reemergence of Russia's Cold War-style behavior has caused Sweden to sharpen its tone. Sweden was one of the first nations to publicly condemn Russia's violation of Georgian territorial sovereignty in 2008. The government's security policy has also changed to reflect increasing concern over a belligerent Russia, given Sweden's geographical proximity and brotherly concern for the Baltics and Finland. Sweden publicly advocates for Russia to partake in European policy, but in private it closely monitors Russian activity. Sweden is planning for the EU-Russia Summit on November 18 in Stockholm, and Reinfeldt will be eager to know more about your views of President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin, how you see U.S.-Russian relations developing, and how the EU can help maintain a positive momentum in advancing a common U.S.-EU agenda.
14. (SBU) Integration of the Western Balkans into the EU fold STOCKHOLM 00000677 004.2 OF 004 is a Swedish EU Presidency priority orchestrated by Foreign Minister Bildt. The Swedes have offered a variety of carrots as part of the accession process to entice governments to achieve the necessary reforms. For the most part, Sweden, and Bildt, have achieved a great deal of success in only a few months. Bosnia, continues to be the laggard and Bildt is increasingly frustrated with the lack of cooperation and progress among the Bosnian leadership. Reinfeldt has given FM Bildt autonomy over handling the impasse with Bosnian government. The EU, pushed by Bildt, wants to close OHR as soon as possible. The U.S. also wants to close OHR, but wants the 5 plus 2 conditions met first.
15. (C) Sweden is one of the strongest supporters of Turkey's EU accession. They invited Turkey to lead the informal lunch discussion on Iraq at the September Gymnich, for example. Just prior to the start of Sweden's EU Presidency, Reinfeldt and Bildt engaged in a mild dispute with President Sarkozy, resulting in Sarkozy canceling his Stockholm visit. EU politics are not the only culprit for the slow process in accession talks, and the Swedes place partial blame on Prime Minister Erdogan. Reinfeldt and Bildt are concerned that Turkey had made no progress on meeting the additional Ankara Protocol requirements.
16. (C) Accepting Guantanamo detainees is the most politically sensitive issue between the U.S. and Sweden. It is election year, and Reinfeldt is cautious to commit to something that could publicly backfire; nonetheless he is willing to "cooperate as much as possible" as long as security and diplomatic concerns are met. Post has pushed hard for Sweden's cooperation, and shortly the United Nations Desk at the Foreign Ministry will receive a UNHCR referral for specific detainees. We assess that UNHCR's referral will give Reinfeldt the political cover needed to defend the decision publicly. Swedish officials have noted that acceptance of Guantamamo detainees is made even more difficult by the front page coverage devoted to the arrest in Pakistan of Swedish-citizen Mehdi Ghezali, a Guantanamo detainee who Sweden requested be released to Sweden. BARZUN