Swedish PM warns of nationalist surge as EU elections loom

Sweden’s Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt waves as he arrives at a European Union leaders summit in Brussels March 21, 2014.

(Reuters) – Europe’s failure to deliver economic growth and jobs has frayed public trust in democracy and fostered a nationalist climate that could reward anti-immigration, Eurosceptical parties in May’s EU elections, Sweden’s prime minister said on Thursday.

“(The economic crisis) has weakened the forces of integration or standing up for this European ideal,” he said in an interview in which he also invoked the destructive nationalism that tore Europe apart 100 years ago this summer with the outbreak of World War One.

“The kind of (nationalist) thinking behind that, which has been a problem in Europe for hundreds of years … is very much the same kind of thinking you see Russia now doing in Ukraine or you will see in many forces throughout Europe,” Reinfeldt said.

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He doesn’t get it. True, in Russia now, there is old-fashioned nationalism.

But in Western Europe, the interest is less in nationalism than being flooded — indeed, being replaced — with immigrants, especially from highly incompatible societies such as those of the Islamic world.

Or perhaps he understands this all too well but for his own reasons prefers not to talk about it but rather blather on about the straw man of “nationalism.”