Today’s editorial: Dagens Industri on Sweden’s cooperation with Saudi Arabia

The Minister for Enterprise, Mikael Damberg (S), has put Saudi Arabia at the top the government’s list of priority countries for its new export strategy, notes Dagens Industri. “This is not strange. The country is the largest economy in the Middle East and has a very young and rapidly growing population. It has investment needs for the next 15 years is estimated at 1,000 billion dollars” writes the paper. Saudi Arabia is already one of Sweden’s 20 largest business partners, and approximately 40 Swedish companies are already established there, among them Ericsson, ABB, Ikea, Volvo, and H&M. It is good that the government supports exports to Saudi Arabia, writes DI. It is a crucial issue for Sweden and the rest of Europe to ensure that the Middle Eastern economies develop, and that the young people there have a bright future. A demonstrative cancellation of the military agreement between Sweden and Saudi Arabia hurts Sweden’s opportunities in the region. Moreover, there are a lot of things Sweden can do to promote democracy in the country: “Start a King Carl Gustaf Scholarship Program and give female students in the Middle East the opportunity to study in Sweden. Regulate Vattenfall to invest in solar energy in the Arabian Peninsula… Found an Arab democracy institute with Arabic-speaking staff in Malmö specialising in democracy and human rights in the Muslim world.” There are a lot of things Sweden can do if there is contact between the two countries, but we will have little influence if we cut off contact, concludes DI.