To return to Europe’s news of the week, Sweden recently held its parliamentary elections and has formed a new coalition
Indeed, with only a slim majority, a right-wing coalition will lead the Swedish government with the support of the far-right party, the Sweden Democrats.
What does this new coalition mean for political decision-making in Sweden?
Well, despite the fact that the Sweden Democrats did very well in these elections, getting more than 20% of the vote, they will not officially be part of the governing coalition. The party will, however, support the formation of said coalition and will thus exert some political power.
In recent years, Swedish political discourse has been strongly concerned with crime and immigration.
Having already been tightened in 2015, these policy areas may soon find themselves to be the toughest in Europe.
Concerning the rule of law, we’ve previously discussed the blocking of EU funding to Hungary due to accusations of widespread corruption - how is the situation currently evolving?
Well, Brussels and Orbán have been butting heads over this issue for some months now. However, Orbán announced in September that a series of legislative measures would be introduced into the Hungarian judicial system in order to make the country eligible for EU funding.
Will these reforms be sufficient to secure this funding?
In terms of fighting corruption, this doesn’t seem likely. The measures announced by the Hungarian government claim that they will ensure the proper management of public funds and make prosecution processes more transparent.
But analysts say that the implementation of these reforms is logistically impossible. The EU Council, which brings together the leaders of EU member states, is to decide on the allocation of these funds in December, a timeframe that remains far too short to ensure the effectiveness of said reforms. If Hungary does receive its funding, it will be due to its negotiations with other Member States rather than a successful crackdown on corruption.
And finally, we have been talking in recent weeks about Putin's annexation of several Ukrainian regions and his threats of nuclear strikes. What reaction has this provoked among commentators and politicians?
Absolutely - many politicians, journalists and institutional organisations have called for Russia's withdrawal from the UN Security Council, claiming that its actions completely ignore the international rules-based order founded after the Second World War. Indeed, Putin's annexations are still not recognised under international law.
How should we interpret these developments in the war then?
Well, if we give in to current threats of nuclear war, it will normalise the use of such threats on a much wider scale and encourage an accelerated nuclear arms race, as a precedent will have been set for this form of diplomacy.
Furthermore, recognising the validity of Putin's referendums would run counter to the Charter of the
United Nations and would potentially allow for many more breaches of national sovereignty in the future. The handling of this current conflict will therefore determine whether the geopolitical order of the last 70 years will be maintained or whether a new Putin-inspired model will take hold.
Euan Walker et Laurence Aubron