Planning the future: the possible dream of the Swedish Minister

Communicating, receiving, cooperating: Kristina Persson, Swedish minister for future affairs and main speaker at the 2016 Oscar Pomilio Blumm Forum, reflects on a possible model of Europe

Future, reception, cooperation: these are not just abstract values, but concrete realities and well defined objectives in Kristina Persson’s Sweden. The Minister for Strategic development and Nordic cooperation in this interview at the end of the 2016 Oscar Pomilio Blumm Forum explains how solidarity, knowledge and synergy between the states and the regions could offer Europe a winning and positive model of future.

What is the role of communication for future policies?

No democracy can function without the support of people: you have to communicate ideas about the future, otherwise people would not be prepared to receive the changes that they imply. And sometimes, in the short run, they can be negative. For instance, if you have to pay more for gasoline, people can experience that as negative, but if they know that this is necessary to change into another way of getting the energy for your transport system they will accept it: knowledge among people is fundamental.

Solidarity is a spontaneous phenomenon: how can policy makers systemize these spontaneous “movements”?

When we had this strong increase of asylum seekers to Sweden, we had a movement being developed among ordinary people. They have been organizing reception, they have been mentors, helped with clothes, toys for the kids, finding places where they could stay and so on, even when the number of immigrants  was more than we could cope with.

The Swedish government has given money to the civil society, so that they can organize this “good will”, so that they can channel this good will to those who need it: we have given 200.000 Swedish crowns, so there was a balance between this idealistic and volunteer work and a more organized, professional work.

The macro-regions challenge is open. Could cooperation in these terms help reinforce European cohesion?

You already have a tendency of that, such as the Nordic macro-region, Mediterranean Europe, and so on. Europe is so bug, 28 countries and we are so different from one another, and it’s absolutely impossible to make 28 countries move at the same speed, in the same direction, at the same time. But in preparation for joint action and joint policies it may be necessary to have discussions within the European Union. So, realistically speaking, I think that is what will happen, but we should be open for more countries to join. I think it would be interesting if we could have joint regions or cooperation between North and South or East and West, different kinds of combinations than the traditional ones.



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