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Nils Daniel Carl Bildt (born 15 July 1949) is a Swedish politician and diplomat who was Prime Minister of Sweden from 1991 to 1994. He was the leader of the Moderate Party from 1986 to 1999. Bildt served as Sweden's Minister for Foreign Affairs from October 2006 to October 2014.
|Prime Minister of Sweden|
4 October 1991 – 7 October 1994
|Monarch||Carl XVI Gustaf|
|Preceded by||Ingvar Carlsson|
|Succeeded by||Ingvar Carlsson|
|Minister for Foreign Affairs|
6 October 2006 – 3 October 2014
|Prime Minister||Fredrik Reinfeldt|
|Preceded by||Jan Eliasson|
|Succeeded by||Margot Wallström|
|High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina|
14 December 1995 – 18 June 1997
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Carlos Westendorp|
|Leader of the Moderate Party|
23 August 1986 – 4 September 1999
|Preceded by||Ulf Adelsohn|
|Succeeded by||Bo Lundgren|
Nils Daniel Carl Bildt
15 July 1949
|Political party||Moderate Party|
|Spouse(s)||Kerstin Zetterberg (1974–1975)|
Mia Bohman (1984–1997)
Anna Maria Corazza (1998–present)
|Alma mater||Stockholm University|
He had been noted internationally as a mediator in the Yugoslav wars, 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 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.
Early life and educationEdit
Bildt was born on 15 July 1949 in Halmstad, Halland, to an old Danish-Swedish noble family traditionally domiciled in Bohus county. His grandfather's grandfather, Gillis Bildt, was a Conservative politician and diplomat, long-time Ambassador to the German Empire and Prime Minister of Sweden 1888–1889, mainly remembered for his protectionist trade policies.
Bildt's father Daniel Bildt (1920–2010) was a former major in the reserves of the now defunct Halland Regiment and a former bureau director in the now defunct Civil Defense Board's Education Bureau. Daniel Bildt married Kerstin Andersson-Alwå in 1947. Carl Bildt's brother, Nils, was born in 1952. Bildt was married to Kerstin Zetterberg from 1974–75; to Mia Bohman (daughter of former Moderate party leader and Minister of Economy, Gösta Bohman) from 1984–97; and, since 1998, to Anna Maria Corazza. Bildt has three children; two from his second marriage and one from his third marriage.
In May 1968 Bildt opposed the occupation of the Student Union Building by leftist political forces and co-founded the Borgerliga Studenter – Opposition '68 group which went on to win the Student Union elections in Stockholm for a number of years. He served as chairman of the FMSF Confederation of Swedish Conservative and Liberal Students, a centre-right student organisation, in the early 1970s, and also chaired European Democrat Students, bringing together like-minded centre-right student organisations from across Europe.
When the non-socialist formed government in 1976, Bildt served as the head of the Policy Coordinating Office in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and close collaborator to the party leader and Minister of Economy Gösta Bohman. Bildt became a Member of Parliament in 1979, although he served instead as State Secretary for Policy Coordination in the reformed non-socialist government after that election.
As an MP in the early eighties, he became noted as an incisive and combative debater on foreign affairs. He was a member of the Submarine Defence Commission investigating the 1982 incursions of foreign submarines in the Stockholm archipelago and naval base areas, and often 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 Moderate Party.
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On 4 October 1991, Bildt became the first conservative prime minister in Sweden in 61 years, leading a four-party coalition government. The policies of his government aimed at giving Sweden a "new start" in the middle of a rapidly mounting economic crisis caused by a speculation bubble in housing, focusing on privatising and de-regulating the economy in order to improve the conditions for big businesses.
Long a champion of European integration and Sweden's participation in this, negotiating membership in the European Union was a priority for the Bildt premiership. The preceding Social Democratic government had, as part of an emergency economic crisis package in the autumn of 1990, done a sudden U-turn, abandoned its previous opposition and in the summer of 1991 submitted a formal application for membership in the EU.
Benefiting also from his close links with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Bildt was able to initiate and conclude membership negotiations with the EU in record time, signing the Treaty of Accession at the EU summit in Corfu on June 23, 1994. The accession was supported by a referendum in November, and Sweden entered the EU as full member on January 1, 1995, thus fulfilling a key part of the platform of the Bildt government.
By that time his governing coalition had lost its majority in the September 1994 elections, in spite of his Moderate party making slight gains.
The economic program of the government was focused primarily on a series of structural reforms aiming at improving competitiveness and improving grown. Economic reforms were enacted, including voucher schools, liberalizing markets for telecommunications and energy, privatizing publicly owned companies and health care, contributing to substantially liberalizing the Swedish economy.
These reforms were highly controversial at the time, and the government also had to deal with a rapid increase in unemployment as well as public deficits during 1991 and 1992. The period was marked by a severe economic crisis. These problems were reinforced by the economic crisis in other European countries and the crisis within the EU Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992. As a result, Sweden in November 1992 was forced to abandon its policy of a fixed exchange rate and allow the Swedish crown to float freely. As part of the effort to handle the economic crisis, the government was able to conclude an agreement with the Social Democratic opposition on some of its expenditure-cutting measures.
By 1994 the economy was registering strong growth, and the deficits were declining, although unemployment was still at levels higher than in 1991.
Prior to becoming Prime Minister, Bildt had been severely anti-Soviet union and a strong supporter of the three Baltic nations, and during his period as PM devoted considerable efforts to trying to assist the three now again independent Baltic states in handling their immediate challenges in form of withdrawal of ex-Soviet forces and strategic installations, as well as deciding on sensitive issues of citizenship. In this he worked closely together with the leaders of the three countries as well as with Russia Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev.
His government also had to handle a large increase in refugee flows from primarily the war in Bosnia, defending a liberal approach against the anti-immigration New Democracy party that had entered parliament in 1991.
Bildt was an early champion of the internet and information technologies. He led the first IT Commission in 1994, and in that year also had the first exchange of emails between two heads of government with US President Bill Clinton.
The government's effectiveness was sometimes hampered by in-fighting, most memorably over the construction of the Øresund Bridge, which led to the departure of the leader of the Center Party Olof Johansson from the government, paving the way for the government taking the decision to approve the construction of the link.
Bildt continued to serve as leader of the Moderate party, and thus of the opposition until 1999, when he was succeeded as party leader by Bo Lundgren.
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 that led to the Dayton Peace Accords in November 1995, and 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.
Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008, without the approval of the UN Security Council, and Sweden recognised it on 4 March 2008. On 8 March 2008, Carl Bildt became the first foreign minister to officially visit Kosovo since it declared its independence.
Minister for Foreign AffairsEdit
On 6 October 2006, Bildt was appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the newly formed cabinet of Fredrik Reinfeldt. This was seen by many as a surprising move. Not only had Bildt already served both as prime minister and as leader of the Moderate Party, but he and Reinfeldt had previously not got along very well. He retained this post following the 2010 general election.
Throughout his career, Bildt has frequently been reported by his critics to the Constitutional Committee of the Parliament, but in all cases acquitted of the accusations made.
Work in private sectorEdit
This section relies largely or entirely on a single source. (September 2015)
After leaving his position as leader of the Moderate Party in 1999, other than engaging in international issues, Bildt took positions in the private sector and positions with international think tanks. His positions in think tanks included serving as the first non-US member on the Board of Trustees of the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California, and on the Advisory Board of the Centre for European Reform in London. He was a member of the board of the European Policy Centre in Brussels, the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, and the International Advisory Board of the Council on Foreign Affairs in New York.
Bildt served as non-executive director of the Baltimore-based US assets management company Legg Mason, Inc. He served as chairman of the board of Teleopti and chairman of the public affairs consultancy Kreab AB, and board member of the IT consultancy HiQ AB. He was chairman of Nordic Venture Network, which brought Nordic high-tech VC firms together in an informal network.
He left his positions on all these boards upon becoming Foreign Minister in October 2006.
Since 2014, Bildt has again become active in different national as well as international functions. He has been re-appointed to the Board of Trustees of the RAND Corporation in the US, appointed as one of the Co-Chairpersons of the European Council on Foreign Relations as well as to the board of the International Crisis Group and the council of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
He served as Chair of the Global Commission on Internet Governance that concluded its two-year work and produced its report in June 2016.
In 2016, Bildt became a Member of the Global Leadership Foundation (chaired by FW de Klerk) that works to support democratic leadership, prevent and resolve conflict through mediation and promote good governance in the form of democratic institutions, open markets, human rights and the rule of law.
Bosnian war mediator criticismsEdit
Though decorated for his services in the Bosnian conflict and its immediate aftermath by Great Britain, France, and Germany, his mediation of the conflict and aftermath was castigated as well as celebrated.
While prime minister, he was accused of indifference to the ethnic cleansing and genocide committed by the Bosnian Serb forces against Muslim and Croat civilians. Bildt opposed any military intervention and criticized the former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in 1993 for calling NATO to intervene against the Bosnian Serb forces, which led to the Sunday Times describing Bildt and other EU leaders as "robotic political pygmies" and their acceptance of the ongoing genocide as "shameful".
Following Bildt's appointment as the EU special envoy to Yugoslavia, Tom Warrick from the Coalition for International Justice described Bildt as "dangerously misinformed about his own job description" and largely ignorant about the region. The New York Times criticized Bildt for a nonchalant attitude towards the Srebrenica massacre when over 8,000 Bosniaks were killed, and described him as being burdened with a reputation for accepting Bosnian Serb claims of good behavior at face value and overlooking evidence of atrocities against civilians.
Bildt has 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.
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 would be 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, describing it as "horrible and stupid" and an example of "chutzpah" and "complete ignorance of the Middle East", on the grounds that they saw it as comparing Hamas and Netanyahu as equals.
In 2012, Bildt said he saw no problem with exporting Swedish weapons to Saudi Arabia. According to Bildt, "Would the situation in the world be better if they had bought French manufactured ones instead?" Bildt called friendly Saudi Arabia as a "family business" and said that he sees Saudi Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud "quite regularly". In 2015, Bildt criticized Sweden's foreign minister Margot Wallström for damaging Saudi-Swedish relations. Wallström tweeted criticism of Saudi Arabia's flogging of Saudi blogger and activist Raif Badawi.
South Ossetian conflictEdit
After the 2008 South Ossetia war, Bildt wrote on his blog that the Russian rationale for its intervention, concern for the welfare of its expatriates in the Near Abroad, had similarities with the rationale for the annexation of Sudetenland. Bildt called South Ossetian independence "a joke", and said it would be supported only by a "miserable" lot of countries.
Crisis in UkraineEdit
During the 2014 unrest in Ukraine, Carl Bildt has been criticized in Swedish media for ignoring and downplaying the issues with the Ukrainian Svoboda party. Johan Croneman at Dagens Nyheter has also condemned Bildt for pushing Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to rephrase himself after having expressed understanding of the Russians' concerns about the situation.
In a public message on Twitter, Bildt compared Viktor Yanukovych to Vidkun Quisling, writing that he was "sitting on foreign soil begging a foreign army to give his country to him". This has been described as "undiplomatic" by Christer Jönsson, professor in Political Science at the Lund University. Norwegian politician Anniken Huitfeldt also criticized Bildt's statement, saying that it showed "ignorance of history" and that it "does not contribute to solving the conflict". Torsten Kälvemark from Aftonbladet has criticized Bildt's statement as well. "Our Foreign Minister is ignorant, because it was actually Norway's legal head of state, Haakon VII, that during the war sat on foreign soil and hoped that he would with help from the British get back his country", he remarked. The culture editorial of the Aftonbladet newspaper where Torsten Kälvemark works has repeatedly been criticized since for being a tool of Russian propaganda in Sweden.
Stefan Hedlund, professor at Uppsala University, stated that "Carl Bildt's threatening rhetoric should in this context be regarded as extremely destructive", in an article about the Ukrainian crisis. Hedlund also suggested that Bildt should take a "time-out", and that progress can only be made through dialogue with Russia.
In a radio interview with channel SR P1 on March 15, Bildt stated that he considers the Crimean referendum illegal, and "invalid, no matter which way people vote". He continued his refusal to answer questions about Svoboda, saying that he "won't describe what that party is". His overall comment on the new regime in Kiev was that it's a "reasonable and democratic government" and that he does not want to "play along with Russian propaganda".
In early 2015, a study made at the Swedish Defence Research Agency stated that Bildt had been a target of information warfare and that he was "regularly smeared in Russian state-controlled media". The reason was described to be Bildt's involvement in the Eastern Partnership program and that the project was perceived as a threat by the Russian government.
Bildt was an early pioneer among politicians of using the Internet for communicating. On 4 February 1994, he sent an email message to US president Bill Clinton, which was the first publicly known electronic message sent between two heads of government. In the message he praised Clinton's decision to end the trade embargo on Vietnam. In the same year, he also started a weekly electronic newsletter which was active until 2005. He is an active 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. 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 a channel on YouTube which has been active since early 2008. He maintains a personal Twitter feed in English with approximately 660,000 subscribed followers. As of 2014, Bildt has served as Chair of the Global Commission on Internet Governance.
He currently writes monthly columns for international syndication organization Project Syndicate.
Advisor of Ukraine's President and Russian GroupEdit
On Mid May 2015 Bildt was appointed to Ukraine's International Advisory Council on Reforms .The group consisting of several foreign advisors to President Petro Poroshenko, aims to improve security and economy in the country which has been ravaged by armed conflict in its Eastern part.
Carl Bildt has also been appointed as an advisor to Russian-controlled investment group LetterOne. The Luxembourg-based Group, led by Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman, was founded in 2013 and specialises in the energy and technology sectors. Whereas Bildt is a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the country's involvement in the Ukraine conflict Fridman seeks distance to Russia's policy by contacts to prominent Western politicians. Fridman, the billionaire chairman of Russia's Alfa Group, said in a statement that Bildt's appointment is part of the company's efforts to build "a team of world-class advisers to contribute to our thinking and growth as an international business,"
- H. M. The King's Medal,12th size on chain (Sweden).
- Legion of Honour, Commander (France).
- Order of St Michael and St George, Honorary Knight Commander (UK).
- Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, Grand Cross (Germany).
- Order of the Oak Crown, Grand Cross (Luxembourg).
- Order of the Phoenix, Grand Cross (Greece).
- Order of Merit, Grand Cross (Italy).
- Order of Merit, Grand Cross (Poland).
- Order of Grand Duke Gediminas, Grand Cross (Lithuania).
- Order of the Three Stars, Commander Grand Cross (Latvia).
- Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, Grand Cross (Estonia).
- Royal Order of Merit, Grand Cross (Norway).
- Order of the White Rose, Grand Cross (Finland).
- Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise, Second Class (Ukraine).
- Bildt has an honorary doctorate from the University of St Andrews.
- Bildt is an honorary member of the Institute for Information on the Crimes of Communism, and contributes to its publications.
- Knight of Freedom Award (2015)
- Bildt, Carl (1991). Hallänning, svensk, europé (in Swedish). Stockholm: Bonnier. ISBN 91-34-51204-7.
- Bildt, Carl (1994). Den enda vägen (in Swedish). Stockholm: Moderata samlingspartiet. ISBN 91-85816-09-4.
- Bildt, Carl (1997). Uppdrag fred (in Swedish). Stockholm: Norstedt. ISBN 91-1-300324-0.
- Bildt, Carl. (Stockholm 1998) Peace Journey. The Struggle for Peace in Bosnia. (in English) London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 0297841319
- "Carl Bildt" (PDF). The Swedish Government. The Swedish Government. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
- Between 1990 and 1994, per capita income declined by approximately 10% as per this link Archived 27 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- "NATO Who's who?: Carl Bildt". www.nato.int. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
- "Sweden recognises the Republic of Kosovo" (Press release). Ministry for Foreign Affairs. 4 March 2008. Archived from the original on 5 March 2008. Retrieved 4 March 2008.
- "SWEDEN: MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS CARL BILDT TO VISIT KOSOVO, MACEDONIA".
- Kellberg, Christina (18 September 2006). "Berättelsen om Fredrik Reinfeldt". Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 1 October 2007. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
- "Sweden backs up NATO request on Libya". Swedishwire. Archived from the original on 21 March 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
- "Government yes to Gripen deployment". The Local. 29 March 2011.
- Byström, Max (11 November 2014). "Bildt får nytt uppdrag" (in Swedish). Retrieved 17 December 2014.
- Lundin may have led Bildt to the heart of darkness. The Local, 22 December 2011
- Demirbag-Sten, Dilsa (16 October 2006). "Oförebildtlig". Expressen (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 20 October 2017..
- Ahlmark, Per (24 October 2006). "Du vet ju hur Carl är". Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). Retrieved 28 March 2009.
- "BosNet Digest V5 No. 11". Hri.org. 7 January 1996. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
- "Mr. Bildt's Responsibility in Bosnia". The New York Times. 17 December 1995.
- Nyberg, Mikael (27 October 2006). "Vad Carl Bildt gjort för kriget". Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 24 January 2007..
- Hoffman, Gil (10 April 2008). "Swedish FM likens Netanyahu to Hamas". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 28 March 2009.[permanent dead link]
- "Saudi Arabia a 'family business': Bildt". The Local. 4 April 2012.
- "Clash between Sweden and Saudi Arabia escalates as ambassador is withdrawn". The Guardian. 11 March 2015.
- "Georgia 'started unjustified war'". BBC News. 30 September 2009.
- "Kremlin told that move could backfire". Financial Times. 27 August 2008.
- "Playing East against West: The success of the Eastern Partnership depends on Ukraine". The Economist. 23 November 2013.
- Kälvemark, Torsten (6 March 2014). "Svoboda luktar fascism". Aftonbladet. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
- Croneman, Johan (4 March 2014). "Johan Croneman: SVT har inte haft en självständig utrikes-analytiker på flera decennier". Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). Retrieved 9 March 2014.
- Svensson, Niklas (9 March 2014). "Bildt: "Det kunde varit lite mindre underläge"". Expressen (in Swedish). Retrieved 9 March 2014.
- Kärrman, Jens (14 March 2014). "Bildt pressades om Svoboda". Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). Retrieved 14 March 2014.
- "Bildts Quisling-tweet förvånar". Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). 4 March 2014. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
- Goldberg, Leonard (5 March 2014). "Bildt får skarp kritik för Quisling-tweet". Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 9 March 2014.
- Kälvemark, Torsten (2 April 2014). "Så sprids fördomar om krisen på Krim". Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- "Aftonbladet Kultur kritiseras för att sprida Putins världsbild". Sveriges Radio (in Swedish). 7 January 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
- "Aftonbladets Ukraina-journalistik väcker frågor". Sveriges Radio (in Swedish). 7 January 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2017.[permanent dead link]
- Hedlund, Stefan (12 March 2014). "Enda vägen framåt är dialog med Ryssland". Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 22 September 2015.
- "Bildt: Crimea referendum illegal". Sveriges Radio. 15 March 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
- Sundberg, Marit (12 March 2015). "FOI: Så försökte Ryssland smutskasta Bildt" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
- Franke, Ulrik (2015). War by non-military means: Understanding Russian information warfare (PDF). Sweden: Försvarsdepartementet/Ministry of Defence. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 March 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
- John Lloyd (14 September 2015). "Europeans 'not grasping' the importance of Ukraine". Reuters. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
- "First Email Bildt to Clinton" Archived 10 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine, bildt.net; accessed 22 September 2015.
- Simmons, Carl (30 May 2007). "Sweden opens virtual embassy 3D-style". Sweden.se. Archived from the original on 16 November 2007.
- Bildt profile, ourinternet.org; accessed 22 September 2015.
- "Sweden's Carl Bildt advises Ukraine President and Russian group". Stockholm: Yahoo! News. AFP. 18 May 2015. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
- Russian Tycoon Taps Ex-Swedish Foreign Minister And Kremlin Critic As Adviser, 15 May 2015; retrieved 22 September 2015.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 October 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2010.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "UOK – Upplysning om kommunismen". Institute for Information on the Crimes of Communism. Retrieved 19 October 2009.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Carl Bildt.|
- Alla Dessa Dagar, Bildt's Swedish-language blog
- twitter.com/carlbildt, Bildt's English-language micro blog
- bildt.net, official website (inactive)
- Bildt Comments – Bildt's English-language blog (inactive)
- on 's channelYouTube.
- Sweden navigates complex waters of EU foreign policy, The Local
- "Assuring Peace and a European Future in Bosnia and Hercegovina, Open Letter to Carl Bildt in the light of the "Dayton-2"-negotiations at Butmir, Bosnia and Hercegovina, by Lord Paddy Ashdown, Wolfgang Petritsch und Christian Schwarz-Schilling, 18. Oktober 2009
|Party political offices|
| Chair of the Confederation of Conservative and Liberal Students
| Leader of the Moderate Party
| Prime Minister of Sweden
|New office|| High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina
| Minister for Foreign Affairs