Yesterday signified the opening of the 2015-2016 Swedish session of parliament. After attending a church service at Stockholm’s cathedral, the 349 MPs were called to order at 11:00 AM at the historic Rikstag building.
Two hours later, on the concourse outside the Rikstag, there was much fanfare from the Royal Swedish Army Band and traditional folk dancing performed by Folkdansgillet Kedjan, the Swedish folk Dance Society.
The attending members of the Swedish royal family then headed to the Rikstag, where Carl XVI Gustaf officially opened parliament. He expressed grave concern over the European refugee crisis, stating,
“In recent weeks the number of people displaced has increased dramatically. It is a tragedy that has touched all of us emotionally,” he said.
He even queried what the world would look like 70 years in the future for upcoming generations, saying, “Not Since the end of World War Two have so many people been on the run….What will the world look like in 70 years? For our children and grandchildren?”
Sweden’s current Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven echoed his King’s sentements. “I believe in a Sweden that we create together, which is something bigger than just a gathering of people in a geographic area, which is a community where we feel responsible for one another,” remarked the PM.
This is the start of the second term for Prime minister Löfven after the Social Democratic party won the general election in September of 2014.
Wearing his country’s flag on his lapel, he encouraged other EU member states to take in more refugees during this crisis while promising to keep sweden’s borders open. And despite increasing tensions with Sweden’s eastern neighbor Russia over the displacement of Ukraine, the prime minister was adiment that Sweden, “should not seek Nato membership”, arguing that Sweden’s “military alliances still serve our country well.”
Later that evening, MPs and their guests attended a performance of the ballet Raymonda at Sweden’s Royal Opera in Stockholm. Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel were also in attendance. As were the newest Swedish royal couple, Prince Carl Philip and his wife Princess Sofia, who were married earlier this summer.
Princess Madeleine and her husband, Chris O’Neill did not attend the event. Princess Madeleine flew in from London for the opening of parliament. She returned to the United Kingdom to be with her four-month-old son Nicolas, while her husband carried out business engagements.
Photo Credit: Bengt Nyman via Flickr