Criticism of Swedish development assistance has been harsh on the opinion pages in the past week. But several have also gone on the defensive.

Current debate

Swedish aid in the hot air after reports of corruption

Revelations about corruption and proposals from the Moderates about a reduced aid budget. This has caused the debate about Swedish aid to be heated in the past week. Criticism about a lack of control is met with arguments that the aid is needed - precisely to fight corruption. "It is simply not the case that countries with lower aid budgets have better aid," writes Anna Tibblin from We Effect in Svenska Dagbladet.

In the past week, debaters from several quarters have discussed Swedish development assistance after the media reported on two cases of corruption. Partly with the UN agency UNRWA and partly with the African organization AECF - both of which receive support from Swedish development assistance money. The debate has taken place in connection with the Moderates' proposal to cut the development assistance budget and remove the one percent target, ie that one percent of Sweden's GNI should go to development assistance activities.

The development agency Sida is criticized for lack of control and for lacking the capacity to handle the volume of money that the agency currently manages. The criticism comes, among other things, from the editorial staff at Dagens Nyheter, who writes that “Sweden's great aid is due to the fact that we would like to see ourselves as a humanitarian superpower. But our generosity means that in practice we often become the opposite: a sponsor of undemocratic forces ”. Centerstudenter also writes in Svenska Dagbladet that "it is high time to reconsider Sweden's ineffective development aid policy and focus on results, not volume".

However, Anna Tibblin, Secretary General of the aid organization We Effect, does not agree. "We know that democracy contributes to reducing corruption. That is why aid in democracy, human rights and, not least, support for vulnerable people's own organization is particularly important ", she writes in a reply and believes that less aid does not mean better aid.

She hears from 41 industry organizations that write in Svenska Dagbladet that Swedish development assistance is both carefully examined and has important effects. Debaters use individual cases of corruption as evidence for unfounded allegations of a more general lack of control. When corruption is discovered in, for example, county councils, police or banks, there are calls for accountability, but never for cuts in the core business ", they write and point out that more international cooperation is needed, not less.

Alongside the aid debate, the EU's trade agreement with Mercosur is being discussed in the shadow of a burning Amazon. EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmström responds to criticism from the Left Party and writes that the trade agreement is needed to put pressure on Bolsonaros Brazil in terms of environmental policy and workers' rights. V:'s Malin Björk and Lorena Delgado Vara contradict in a final remark that the agreement is lacking in terms of binding requirements and clear sanctions.

In addition, Margot Wallström announced that she is resigning as Minister of Foreign Affairs and that her achievements have been both praised and criticized on the debate pages.

Swedish aid

"Sweden must immediately step up aid"
The editorial staff, Dagens Nyheter.

"C-students: Rethinking Swedish development aid policy"
Naod Habtemichael and Emanuel Örtengren, Svenska Dagbladet.

"M is right - it is high time to abolish the development assistance goal"
The editorial staff, Expressen. 

"Aid helps reduce corruption"
Anna Tibblin, Svenska Dagbladet

"Moderates think wrong about aid"
41 organizations from the civil society, Svenska Dagbladet

The XNUMX% target makes development aid jerky
Elisabeth Svantesson and Hans Wallmark, Svenska Dagbladet

EU trade policy

"Amazon is on fire - and the EU is on fire"
Lina Burnelius and Parul Sharma, Aftonbladet

"We are wrong about the Mercosur agreement"
Cecilia Malmström, Svenska Dagbladet

"EU trade policy is hopelessly outdated"
Malin Björk and Lorena Delgado Varas, Svenska Dagbladet.

Margot Wallström's resignation

"Margot Wallström is a feminist hero"
Daniel Swedin, Aftonbladet

"Wallström's legacy as minister became a long series of failures"
The editorial staff, Dagens Nyheter

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