Op-ed in The Parliament Magazine: Liberalism in Europe ‘facing its biggest fight’

As far-right parties gain popularity across Europe, liberals must stand together against the ‘politics of fear’, write Cecilia Wilkström, Catherine Bearder, Hans Van Baalen and Graham Watson. (Please find the link here)

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Liberalism in western Europe is facing its biggest fight since the 1930s.

Last May’s European parliament elections showed just how steep the mountain we have to climb is. The forces of xenophobia and racism – the populist right across Europe – polled strongly in the UK, France and Italy and in many smaller EU member states.

Parties like the Front National in France, UKIP in the UK and the Five Star Movement in Italy all espouse a politics of division and fear and all made substantial gains.

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Op-ed in The Local: Why can’t refugees travel to Sweden legally?

Op-ed in The Local, Sweden:

Refugees should not be forced to make dangerous journeys to Europe in order to seek asylum, argues Liberal Party MEP Cecilia Wikström, who also wants to see other EU states joining Sweden and Germany in taking in more people from war-torn nations.

Over 50 million people are currently displaced in the world, many of them caught in a cold and harsh winter. One fifth of these are Syrians in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Approximately two million of the Syrian refugees are living in refugee camps in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Egypt, where access to medical care and medication is scarce.

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Parliament to host play celebrating work of human rights defenders

Cecilia Wikström and Kerry Kennedy say the stories of human rights defenders can be used to inspire and train a generation of young people and promote the concept of fundamental rights and freedoms.

Every person can make a difference. That is the message in a unique cooperation between the European parliament, the Robert F. Kennedy centre for justice and human rights and Postkodslotteriet in Sweden, when the play ‘Speak Truth to Power’ is brought to Brussels. read more…

Op-ed in The Local: ‘EU must help end medieval child marriages’

Op-ed published in The Local:

Valentine’s Day’s roots in a famous child marriage is a reminder that millions of young girls are forced to marry against their will this year. EU member states must make eradication of the medieval practice a global priority, argues Swedish MEP Cecilia Wikström.

St. Valentine’s Day was not associated with romantic love until a poem written by Geoffrey Chaucer in 1382 to celebrate the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia: “For this was on Saint Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate”, he wrote in marking the occasion. read more…

Time for action on financial transparency

Op-ed published in The EU-Observer, co-signed by Koen Roovers

On 13 February the European Parliament will have a once-in-a-decade opportunity to vote for legislative revisions to the current EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD).

If implemented correctly, a revised AMLD could have a tremendous impact on the battles against corruption, drug trafficking, tax evasion and a slew of other criminal activities all currently facilitated by the ease in which money can still be laundered in Europe today. read more…

EU door still open for Ukraine

ukrainaOp-ed published in The Local

As protesters take to the streets in Ukraine to demonstrate their desire to move closer to the EU, Swedes and other champions of democracy and citizens’ rights can’t afford to stand idly by and watch, argues Swedish MEP Cecilia Wikström. read more…

Europe must reap the full benefits of the worldwide talent market

The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) today adopted ALDE MEP Cecilia Wikström’s (Folkpartiet, Sweden) report on clearer conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of research, studies, pupil exchange, remunerated and unremunerated training, voluntary service and ‘au pairing’.

Ensuring Europe’s attractiveness to foreign talents can no longer remain simply an option. Europe must start reaping the full benefits of the worldwide talent market“, said Mrs Wikström. The proposal merges the current “Research” and “Students” Directives and adds new categories, such as remunerated trainees and ‘au-pairs’. This new Directive also converts the existing optional provisions into mandatory requirements. read more…

Mediterranean becoming ‘dead sea’ for refugees seeking EU asylum

EPIf events such as the Lampedusa tragedy are to be prevented, member states must transform fine words into concrete policy, writes Cecilia Wikström in The Parliament.

The reactions from Europe’s heads of state, following the tragic incident where hundreds of refugees lost their lives in the Mediterranean sea a few weeks ago, have suddenly been forthcoming. “Europe wakes up only when migrants are dying”, Maltese prime minister Jospeh Muscat said after the tragedy.

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‘An EU security force could have helped Syria’

Opinion article published in The Local

Sweden’s foreign minister is not among the visionaries who have said it is time for the EU to have its own security force. A pity, as such a force could have helped stop the slaughter in Syria, argues Swedish Liberal Party MEP Cecilia Wikström.

The debate about Sweden’s defence has intensified lately. Despite our lack of membership, Sweden recently hosted a Nato conference to discuss strategic issues. Sweden’s Supreme Commander Sverker Göransson made his view clear that Sweden’s ability to defend itself will successively degrade if we do not take part in Nato’s rapid response forces. read more…