Primer Minister of Sweden (1996- 2006)
We will always have to face new challenges. People’s needs and demands increase and change all the time. The challenges of the past return
Göran Persson was Prime Minister of Sweden from 1996 to 2006 and leader of the Social Democratic Party between 1996 and 2007. Persson has been working as a member of the JKL group since August of this year, an expert in communication and lobbying. He is known for his speaking skills, in October 2007, he published his memoires “My way, my elections”. In April 2008, he became the chairman of the Sveaskog directory, a forestry group owned by the Swedish government.
Persson knew from an early age that he wanted to help to create a more modern and equal society. He joined the Young Social Democrats of Sweden at the age of just 15. After completing his Political Sciences and Sociology studies at Örebro University, he set out on his political career as Secretary of the Federation of the Swedish Social Democratic Youth Movement. After holding several posts in the municipality of Katrineholm, including Chairman of the School Board, he was elected member of parliament for Stockholm in 1979.
He returned to Katrinaholm in 1984 as a municipal councilor. Over the next four years, Persson combined this work with his governing and audit functions in the Södermanlands Consumer Federation, the Oppunda Sparbank, the Board of Governors of the Nordic Museum, the Education Preparatory Committee of the Federation of Swedish Municipal Councils and the Konsum Co-operative Company.
Persson claims that his work as councilor gave him the experience and provided him with the tools that played a decisive role in his later political activities. One of the most important lessons that he learned was that society is in constant evolution:
The will to help improve Swedish society led Göran Persson to return to Stockholm to take over the Ministry of Education and Science. From 1989 to 1991, he was responsible for affairs concerning primary and secondary education, vocational training and state education. Apart from his work as a member of Parliament, between 1991 and 1994, Persson also held the post of chairman of the editorial committee of the Folket newspaper, belonging to the Samhall-Alea placement agency, and from 1992, of the National Work Centre Organization. In 1993, he joined the National Executive Committee of the Social Democratic Party as a substitute member and distinguished himself in the party leader’s innermost circle. In 1994, Persson was appointed Economics Minister and as such, one of his most important tasks was to stabilize the Swedish budget and preach the budgetary discipline necessary to join the European Union.
In March 1996, Persson was elected Secretary of the Social Democratic Party. Shortly afterwards, in that same year, he became the Prime Minister of Sweden. His first term was marked by a budget surplus, a strong economy and a fall in unemployment. He was re-elected twice: in 1998 and 2002.
Under the leadership of Göran Persson, the Swedish government engaged in an active international policy with a view to promoting international peace and development. Persson is heavily involved in a range of issues, including reducing unemployment, ensuring education quality, improving the integration of immigrants, protecting the environment and making a contribution towards peace and freedom in the world.
Deputy Chair of the International Socialist movement since September 1996, Persson was the driving force behind the International Forum on the Holocaust held in Stockholm from the 26th to the 28th of January 2000, coinciding with the 55th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi extermination camp, Auschwitz. At this unprecedented event, attended by statesmen and politicians from Europe, Israel and America, historians and survivors of the camps, Nobel peace laureate Elie Wiesel’s proposal to set up a standing international forum on Nazism and xenophobia was accepted.