Almedalen: Sweden’s annual politics extravaganza kicks off on Gotland

Thousands of people from Sweden's political, business and media elite gather each year on the island of Gotland for a week of events and seminars, and the 2019 edition of the event has just begun.

Almedalen: Sweden's annual politics extravaganza kicks off on Gotland
Visitors arrive at Almedalen for the festival's first day, dedicated to the Green Party. Photo: Henrik Montgomery / TT

Almedalen, the name given to the eight-day event, began on June 30th this year and will continue on Sunday, June 7th. Each of Sweden's major political parties has a day dedicated to them, so the length of the festival is determined by how many parties are represented in the country's parliament at the time.

More than 40,000 people typically attend Almedalen, 95 percent of them coming from outside Gotland. 

The 2019 event has around 750 fewer events than the previous year — around 3,550 in total — which could be because 2018 was both Almedalen's 50-year anniversary and took place in an election year.

The decline in events could also show falling interest in the event. Almedalen began began 1968 when Social Democrat Olof Palme, who would go on to become prime minister, gave an impromptu speech while his family was spending their summer holiday on Gotland. This year, prime minister Stefan Löfven will not attend the event, with three other current ministers also skipping Almedalen.

Instead of appearing at Almedalen, Löfven will go on a tour of the country, which he also did in 2017. 

READ ALSO: Ten things that make a visit to Gotland unforgettable


island – ö

parliament – riksdag

event – evenemang

prime minister – statsminister

tour – turné

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Sweden Democrats threaten government crisis over biofuels obligation

The far-right Sweden Democrats are threatening to push Sweden's three-party ruling coalition into a political crisis as they fail to reach agreement over how drastically to cut the country's biofuels obligation, a key part in its plan to reduce emissions.

Sweden Democrats threaten government crisis over biofuels obligation

The party is claiming that a pledge in the Tidö Agreement calling for the biofuels obligation, or reduktionsplikt, to be cut to the “lowest EU level”, should mean that the amount of biofuels that must be blended into petrol and diesel and Sweden should be cut to close to zero, rather than to about half the current share, as suggested by ongoing EU negotiations. 

“We are being tough in the negotiations because of the power we have as the biggest party in this bloc,” Oscar Sjöstedt, the party’s finance spokesperson told TV4. “There is going to be a change at the end of the year that is going to be pretty significant and substantial, that I’m 99.9 percent certain about, otherwise we will have a government crisis.” 

The Liberal Party is pushing for a much less severe reduction, perhaps to a little more than half the current level, where 30.5 percent of all petrol and diesel must be biofuel. 

“We have signed up to a temporary reduction in the biofuels obligation, and it’s clear that that is what we are going to do, but zero is not an alternative for us,” the Liberal Party’s leader Johan Pehrson told TV4.

The decision to reduce the amount of biofuel in the mix at Swedish pumps has made it much more difficult for Sweden to meet its targets for emissions reductions, putting pressure on Pehrson’s colleague, Environment Minister Romina Pourmokhtari. 

Next Wednesday, Pourmokhtari will have to defend the extent to which her government’s policies have pushed Sweden away from being able to meet its 2045 target of net zero emissions when the The Swedish Climate Policy Council reports on the country’s progress towards its target.