Presented at the "The Democratic Left Parties of Europe – a political project for the future in the enlarged European Union?" IV. European Conference of the Rosa-Luxemburg Foundation, Warsaw, October 29-31, 2003
The main focus of the paper is the second one of the two focuses of the conference: Where do the Left Parties and social participators see the possibilities concerning basic changes and shaping?It will however do this in the light of the issue of enlargement and strengthening of the European Union.
1. The present situation of the Swedish Left Party in relation to the ongoing changes of the Swedish welfare state
During the 1990s´ like other countries in the global capitalist economy Sweden has experienced huge cutbacks on the public sector. Socialdemocratic governments during the 1980´s (1982-91) and especially the 1990´s (1994-2003) have carried through a policy meaning gradually decreasing public sectors share of BNP. In the late 1980´s the Socialdemocrats together with the liberals implemented a tax reform to lower for instance income taxes, which cost many billions of Euros and which did not benefit those with low incomes. In the 1990´s socialdemocratic as well as bourgeois governments (1991-94) have been very successful in cutting public expenditures, in order to qualify for the Maastricht treaty and the demands for EU and EMU membership. Public sector share of BNP has decreased from 2/3 to about 1/2 for the period of the last 20 years in Sweden. In money this means a loss of about 20 billion Euros per year in public expenditures, which is very much for a rather small economy as Swedens. ...