Swedish Foreign Minister under fire over her Stockholm apartment



Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom is making headlines not only in Israel but also at home over her flat in Stockholm, AFP reported Friday.

According to the Aftonbladet daily, Wallstrom was one of the left’s “high-profile figures” who were rented apartments in the Swedish capital by the country’s largest trade union, Kommunal, bypassing a wait of several years for ordinary tenants.

Wallstrom wasted no time in responding to the report, saying she had acted in good faith.

“Yes, I rent an apartment from Kommunal and when we spoke about it I got confirmation from the highest level that they followed all the rules and procedures in assigning apartments, and that I was not going to jump ahead of anyone on the waiting list,” she was quoted by AFP as having told Sweden’s TT news agency.

“They lied to me about this… I am angry and disappointed with Kommunal…,” Wallstrom added.

The Foreign Minister’s spokesman Erik Wirkensjo told the TT agency that the minister has lived in the apartment since April and that it was offered to her during an informal discussion with the head of Kommunal.

But a spokesman for the opposition Moderates, Tomas Tobe, said he felt Wallstrom’s explanations felt short of the mark and that instead of pointing the finger at Kommunal “she should shed light on her own actions”.

“She is part of the government and should not create a relationship of dependency vis-a-vis a trade union,” he said, according to AFP.

The center-right Expressen declared that Wallstrom had “put a face on hypocrisy” by “pretending to be a woman of the people while skipping everyone on the housing waiting list”.

The controversy over the apartment comes as Wallstrom continues to make headlines with regards to Israel and her open criticism of the Jewish state.

This week, she called for an investigation to be opened in order to determine whether Israel is guilty of executing Palestinian Arab “assailants” without trial, fueling already existing tensions between Stockholm and Jerusalem.

Wallstrom’s comments led to a backlash in Israel, with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday calling the statements “foolish” and “immoral”. A day earlier, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely announced that Swedish officials are no longer welcome to visit Israel

The comments weren’t Wallstrom’s first criticism of Israel. In December, she made similar accusations against Israel, claiming during a debate in parliament that Israel was “executing” without trial terrorists who carried out stabbing attacks in Israel.

Several weeks before that, the Swedish minister provoked a firestorm of criticism, when she appeared to blame the terrorist attacks in Paris on “Palestinian frustration” with Israel.

Wallstrom’s outspokenness has not been to everyone’s liking, with some critics questioning whether she is good for Swedish diplomacy, noted AFP.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)


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