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Carl Bildt


Incumbent
Assumed office 
6 October 2006
Preceded by Jan Eliasson

In office
4 October 1991 – 7 October 1994
Monarch Carl XVI Gustaf
Deputy Bengt Westerberg
Preceded by Ingvar Carlsson
Succeeded by Ingvar Carlsson

In office
14 December 1995 – 18 June 1997
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Carlos Westendorp

Born 15 July 1949 (1949-07-15) (age 60)
Halmstad, Sweden
Political party Moderate Party
Spouse(s) Anna Corazza
Alma mater Stockholm University (Incomplete)
Religion Church of Sweden
Signature

About this sound Nils Daniel Carl Bildt , Honorary KCMG (born 15 July 1949) is a Swedish politician, diplomat and nobleman. Formerly Prime Minister of Sweden from 1991 to 1994 and leader of the liberal conservative Moderate Party from 1986 to 1999, Bildt has served as Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs since 6 October 2006. He has also been noted internationally as a mediator in the Balkan conflict, serving as the European Union's Special Envoy to the Former Yugoslavia from June 1995, co-chairman of the Dayton Peace Conference in November 1995 and as High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina from December 1995 to June 1997 immediately after the Bosnian War. From 1999 to 2001, he served as the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Balkans.

Contents

Background

Bildt was born in Halmstad, Halland, and belongs to an old Norwegian-Danish-Swedish noble family traditionally domiciled in Bohus county. Bildt attended Stockholm University but never graduated. His great-great-grandfather, Baron Gillis Bildt, served as Prime Minister a century earlier and as a diplomat as well as Marshal of the Realm of Sweden (riksmarskalk). His great-grandfather General Knut Bildt was chief of the general staff. His great-grandfather's brother Carl Bildt served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Cabinet - Secretary (Under secretary of state of foreign affairs, in Swedish kabinettssekreterare) and was a renowned diplomat and member of the Swedish Academy . Bildt's grandfather Nils Bildt was a Colonel and chief of the Halland Regiment. It is interesting to note that Colonel Bildt and his family were neighbours to the Palme family. Bildt's father Daniel Bildt (born 1920) is a former major in the reserves of the now defunct Halland Regiment (Hallands regemente) and a former bureau director in the now defunct Civil Defense Board's Education Bureau. He married Kerstin Andersson - Alwå in 1947 . Bildt has a brother - Nils, who was born in 1952. Bildt himself was married to Kerstin Zetterberg 1974 - 1975, Mia Bohman (daughter of former Moderate party leader and Minister of Economy, Gösta Bohman) 1984 - 1997 and is currently married to Anna Maria Corazza since 1998. From his second marriage he has the children Gunnel (born 1989) and Nils (born 1991). From his third marriage he has the son Gustaf (born 2004). The family's perhaps most prominent lineage comes from Norway, where at least three of his ancestors have been that country's leaders in a position comparable with a modern PM: in 16th century, his ancestor Nils Henriksson av Østråt (Gyldenløve) served as Lord High Steward of Norway and another ancestor, Vincents Vincentson Lunge, as Viceroy of the kingdom of Norway; and then in 17th century, yet one ancestor, Jens Ovesonn Bjelke served as Lord High Chancellor of Norway, and was himself descended from king Haakon V of Norway (the king and his forefathers thus also being Bildt's ancestors) through his daughter Agnes Hakonardottir, Dame of Borgarsyssel.

Early career

Bildt served as chairman of the FMSF Confederation of Swedish Conservative and Liberal Students, a centre-right student organisation, in the early 1970s. When the non-socialist formed government in 1976, Bildt came to serve as the Moderate party coordinator in his capacity as close collaborator of the then party leader and Minister of Economy Gösta Bohman. Bildt became a Member of Parliament in 1979, although he instead served as State Secretary for Policy Coordination in the non-socialist government reformed after that election. As an MP in the early eighties, he became noted as an incisive and combative debater on foreign affairs, and found himself pitted against Prime Minister Olof Palme. Bildt was elected leader of the Moderate Party in 1986, succeeding Ulf Adelsohn. In 1991 the Social Democrats were defeated by a four-party coalition led by Bildt's Moderates.

Prime minister

His government program was one of liberalizing and reforming the Swedish economy as well as making Sweden a member of the European Union. It initiated the negotiations for Sweden's accession to the European Union (though the work to prepare the ground, at home and versus the EEC/EU, had already started during the final year of the Social Democratic government. The Social Democrats' volte face on possible accession to the EEC was most likely a prerequisite for the positive referendum result) and Bildt signed the accession treaty at the European Union summit of Corfu, Greece, on 23 June 1994.

Bildt in a meeting with former U.S. President Bill Clinton at Grand Hôtel in Stockholm (15 May 2001).

Economic reforms were enacted, including voucher schools, liberalized markets for telecommunications and energy as well as the privatization of publicly owned companies, privatization of health care, contributing to liberalizing the Swedish economy. Arguably, the subsequent budget cut-backs with the Social Democrates, and after 1994, continued spending cuts by the Social Democratic government, did more to reform the Swedish economy and the Swedish model, than Bildt's governments programme as such. The government's effectiveness was furthermore hampered as it was plagued by in-fighting, most memorably over the construction of the Oresund Bridge.

The period was also marked by a severe economic crisis.[1] In November 1992, the crisis reached its climax as Sweden left the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (the ERM) and let the Krona float, after having defended the fixed exchange rate at tremendous cost. The, in some people's opinion, single-minded defense of the Krona, led to and continues to draw heavy criticism. At the peak of the crisis and amid run-away budget deficits, a number of emergency cut-backs were negotiated with the Social Democrats. The different measures did contribute to a reduction in the public deficit in 1994 and 1995, and allegedly to revived growth in subsequent years. There is still some debate on whether the current (2006) growth levels are in part due to the devaluation of the Krona. Some see the increased importance of the export industry as testament to this.

The Social Democrats returned to power in September 1994, although Bildt's Moderate Party scored a slight gain.

In 1999 he was succeeded as party leader by Bo Lundgren.

Balkan conflict

After his term as Prime Minister, Bildt was active as a mediator in the Balkans conflict, serving as the European Union Special Envoy to Former Yugoslavia from June 1995, Co-Chairman of the Dayton Peace Conference in November 1995, and High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina from December 1995 to June 1997 immediately after the Bosnian War. From 1999 to 2001, he served as the United Nations Secretary General's Special Envoy for the Balkans.

In 1995, Croatia declared Carl Bildt a persona non grata announcing that he had "lost the credibility necessary for the role of a peace mediator". Bildt had suggested that the President of Croatia, Franjo Tuđman was as guilty of war crimes as the Krajina Serb leader, Milan Martić.[2]

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Bildt with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington, D.C. on 24 October 2006.

On 6 October 2006, Bildt was appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the newly formed government led by Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. This was seen by many as a somewhat surprising move, because Bildt had already served both as Prime Minister and as leader of the Moderate Party and the previous conflict between Bildt and Reinfeldt.

Controversies

The opposition parties and other politicians as well as newspaper columnists have questioned Carl Bildt’s suitability as Sweden’s Foreign Minister for his private stands on international issues as well as his private affairs as a businessman with interest in Russian gas giant Gazprom, and Lundin Petroleum, an oil company with activities in war-torn Sudan.[3][4]

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Private share capital

After having left his political position as leader of the Moderate Party in 1999, apart from being engaged on international issues, Bildt took up a number of private sector positions as well as with international think-tanks.

In the later category, he served as the first non-US member ever of the Board of Trustees of the RAND Corporation (Santa Monica) and on the Advisory Board of the Centre for European Reform (London). He was also a member of the board of the European Policy Center (Brussels) as well as the International Institute for Strategic Studies (London) and the International Advisory Board of the Council on Foreign Affairs (New York).

In the corporate sector in the US, he served as non-executive director of the Baltimore-based US assets management company Legg Mason, Inc.

Among Swedish-dominated companies, he served as Chairman of the Board of Teleopti AB as well as of the public affairs consultancy Kreab AB, and Board member of the IT consultancy HiQ AB. He was also Chairman of Nordic Venture Network, bringing Nordic high-tech VC firms together in an informal network.

In 2002 Bildt joined the board of directors of Vostok Nafta, a financial company primarily with holdings in Gazprom. Bildt was also a member of the board of independent oil company Lundin Petroleum.

He left the board of directors of all these functions upon becoming Foreign Minister in October 2006.

Bildt has been criticized due to the potential conflict of interest due to his previous position in Vostok Nafta, although Bildt could not divest the stock options he has until the first two weeks of December 2006. Among other things the Swedish government has to decide whether or not to lend its support to the construction of a Russian gas pipeline in the Baltic sea near the Swedish island of Gotland. This conflict of interest might also affect relations between Sweden, other European Union countries and Russia, since many EU countries are dependent on Russian oil and gas for their energy needs.[5][6] On 20 October 2006, Ulf Holm, a Member of Parliament for the Green Party, reported the Foreign Minister to the Riksdag Constitutional Committee in order to determine whether Bildt's private economic affairs might represent a conflict of interest. Carl Söderbergh, Secretary General for the Swedish section of Amnesty International, has also criticized Bildt since Human Rights issues are within the portfolio of the Minister for Foreign Affairs.[7] However, the criticism against Bildt for his interests subsided after he announced his intentions of divesting himself of all financial ties with the company as soon as is possible. The work by the Constitutional Committee of the Parliament could not find any grounds for questioning the activities of Bildt in these regards. It also came to light that the Swedish state pension funds (Swedish: AP-fonderna) together had invested more than a billion Swedish krona (140 million USD or 75 million GBP) in Vostok Nafta.[8]

Other controversies

Bildt has also been questioned for his role as a member of the International Advisory Council of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, a group with ties to the Bush administration pushing for an invasion of Iraq in 2003.[9][10] In addition, Carl Bildt has been criticized for opposing an international interference in the War in Bosnia and Hercegovina.[11][12]

On 8 April 2008, during his visit in Israel and Palestinian Authority, Bildt gave an interview to Swedish state radio, where he responded to a question on whether it was really possible to strike a peace deal without the involvement of the Palestinian group Hamas, which remained under international boycott. He responded that the Palestinian Fatah-backed government could deal with Israel, in the same way that it was possible for the Israeli government to make peace with Fatah over the objections of the former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who, similarly to Hamas opposed a two-state deal. Israeli officials issued very strongly worded condemnations of this (calling it "horrible and stupid", saying it was an example of "chutzpah" and "complete ignorance of the Middle East"), on the grounds that they saw it as a way of comparing Hamas and Netanyahu as equals.[13]

Following his statements during the South Ossetian War where he compared the Russian Federation and Vladimir Putin to Hitler's Nazi Germany, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that Bildt is no longer considered welcome in Moscow.[14] Bildt also called South Ossetian independence "a joke", and said it would be supported only by a "miserable" lot of countries.[15]

Internet activities

Bildt was an early pioneer among politicians of using the internet for communicating. On 4 February 1994, he sent an e-mail to U.S. president Bill Clinton, which was the first (as what is publicly known) ever electronic mail sent between two heads of government. In the e-mail he praised Clinton's decision to end the trade embargo on Vietnam.[16]

In the same year he also started a weekly electronic newsletter, which was still active until 2005. He also been active as a blogger, starting his first blog in February 2005. His current blog, started in January 2007, is one of the most widely read political blogs in Sweden.

On 30 May 2007 he officially opened a "Swedish embassy" in the virtual world Second Life.[17] The embassy, called "Second House of Sweden", is a virtual replica of House of Sweden, the Swedish embassy building in Washington, D.C..

During Bildt's time as Foreign Minister the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has opened up a channel on YouTube which has been active since early 2008.

Honours

Bildt was awarded H. M. The King's Medal of the 12th size in 2003. He is a Commander of the Légion d'honneur, has an honorary doctorate from the University of St Andrews and is a member of the Club of Madrid.

References

  1. ^ Between 1990 and 1994, per capita income declined by approximately 10% – http://hdr.undp.org/docs/publications/ocational_papers/oc26c.htm.
  2. ^ FLIGHT FROM CROATIA: Refugee column hit from the air
  3. ^ PM Nilsson, "Bildt måste gå", Expressen, 11 January 2007 (Swedish).
  4. ^ Fredrik Malm, "Bildt måste byta politik eller avgå", Expressen, 15 January 2007 (Swedish).
  5. ^ Bildt gör miljonklipp på ryska gasoptioner, Affärsvärlden, 11 October 2006 (Swedish).
  6. ^ Bildts aktieinnehav "omdömeslöst", Dagens Nyheter, October 19, 2006 (Swedish)
  7. ^ Bildt KU-anmäls för aktieinnehav, Svenska Dagbladet, 20 October 2006 (Swedish).
  8. ^ AP-fonder investerar i Vostok Nafta [1], Aftonbladet, 4 November 2006 (Swedish).
  9. ^ "Bildt in hot water over Iraq war lobbying", The Local, 23 February 2007.
  10. ^ Vad Carl Bildt gjort för kriget, Aftonbladet, 27 October 2006 (Swedish).
  11. ^ Dilsa Demirbag-Sten, Oförebildtlig, Expressen, 16 October 2006 (Swedish).
  12. ^ Ahlmark, Per (October 24, 2006). "Du vet ju hur Carl är"" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. http://www.dn.se/DNet/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=578&a=582918&previousRenderType=2. Retrieved 2009-03-28.  
  13. ^ Hoffman, Gil (10 April 2008). "Swedish FM likens Netanyahu to Hamas". Jerusalem Post (Jerusalem). http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1207649975283&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull. Retrieved 2009-03-28.  
  14. ^ Sweden evokes Hitler in condemning Russian assault
  15. ^ Kremlin is told that move could backfire, Financial Times, 27 August 2008.
  16. ^ "First Email Bildt to Clinton", bildt.net.
  17. ^ Simmons, Carl, Sweden opens virtual embassy 3D-style, Sweden.se, 2007-05-30.

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Carl Cederschiöld
Chair of the Confederation of Conservative and Liberal Students
1973–1974
Succeeded by
Mats Svegfors
Preceded by
Ulf Adelsohn
Chair of the Moderate Party
1986–1999
Succeeded by
Bo Lundgren
Political offices
Preceded by
Ingvar Carlsson
Prime Minister of Sweden
1991–1994
Succeeded by
Ingvar Carlsson
Preceded by
Position established
High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina
1995–1997
Succeeded by
Carlos Westendorp
Preceded by
Jan Eliasson
Minister for Foreign Affairs
2006–present
Incumbent

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