Sweden’s under-fire prime minister visits France in welcome reprieve

Sweden’s under-fire prime minister visits France in welcome reprieve

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven heads to Paris today for talks with Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Eduoard Phillipe. The

Photo: AA

Photo: AA

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven heads to Paris today for talks with Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Eduoard Phillipe.

The embattled Lofven is struggling to survive political turmoil back home. A fresh scandal centres on his government’s outsourcing of driver’s license databases to IBM Sweden. A lack of safeguards exposed that data—potentially including the identities of undercover operatives.

Lofven has resisted calls to resign, instead reshuffling his cabinet and bracing for a confidence motion when parliament returns from a summer break in September. Rather than face that vote, the prime minister may call early elections.

If so, the Paris visit could provide a boost. A YouGov poll at the end of June found that Mr Macron has a favourable rating of +29% among Swedes. So, Lofven could be hoping that appearing side-by-side with the French president will bolster his image as a statesman as his fate is decided.

Yet, Lofven is unlikely to receive much alleviation from his domestic headaches. At the very least, the Paris visit could bring him a respite from his looming potential unemployment.