Fredrik Reinfeldt, the current Swedish Prime Minister, is a moderate pro-European from a cautious member state, making him a good candidate for a top job in 2014.
After two terms as PM, he faces a tough national election in 2014 and may decide to move on – possibly as the EPP’s common candidate – before Swedish voters give their verdict. An alternative to the Commission presidency could be the presidency of the European Council.
Reinfeldt favours Sweden’s participation in the euro and Nato and has been careful to bridge divides in the European Council, notably between the United Kingdom and other member states. He is likely only to be a commissioner if he is to be President – and he may be a compromise candidate from the inter-institutional battle after the elections. However, his anti-Juncker stance may count against him.
Carl Bildt is one of the most respected European foreign ministers, and a clear candidate to take on the role of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (and also Vice-President of the European Commission).
Bildt – who has been the Swedish foreign minister since 2006, was also Sweden’s prime minister from 1991 to 1994. His expertise on foreign affairs was further honed during the Balkans War, when he served in various roles as envoy and representative for the EU and the United Nations.
A former member of the Young European Federalists, Bildt is passionately pro-European. With the nominations due to take place just weeks before a general election in Sweden, Bildt may see this as the right time to push for a move to new pastures if the right job is available.
Sweden’s nominee to the Commission in 2009, Cecilia Malmstrom has skilfully handled the difficult Home Affairs dossier that covers migration to Europe.
A former MEP and a former Europe minister, Malmstrom’s term as commissioner has also been marked by her initiatives on cybercrime and online child sexual exploitation. Her down-to-earth style has won her many plaudits.
With a new Commission President-elect likely to want as many women as possible on his or her team, Malmstrom is likely to be on the ‘keep’ list from the current crop of commissioners – possibly with promotion to a role as a vice-president. However, she may have to fight internal Swedish politics, with others from the main (centre-right) coalition parties eyeing a post in Brussels as national elections approach.
Marita Ulvskog is a Member of the European Parliament who was a minister in Sweden for ten years.
A former journalist, Ulvskog became home affairs minister in 1994 and then culture minister in 1996, a position she held until 2004. She was also deputy prime minister from 2003 to 2004.
Ulvskog was selected to stand in the European elections in 2009 despite her critical stances towards the EU. She won a seat – retaining it in 2014 – and could be a contender for the Commission this time depending on the timing of the nomination. With elections in September, a cross-party consensus may be needed for any pick, so a Social Democrat cannot be ruled out.