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Jakarta Post

Tiny Sweden takes on its biggest challenge

  • Veeramalla Anjaiah

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, July 1 2009   /  12:37 pm

Indonesian Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono once told this newspaper that Scandinavian countries were in a better position to lead world bodies like the United Nations, because they were small, rich, independent and good at diplomacy. Today, Sweden, the small but rich Scandinavian nation with a penchant for quiet diplomacy, assumes the European Union presidency from the Czech Republic. It will hold the presidency until Dec. 31, 2009. As holder of the EU presidency, Sweden will lead the Council of European Union and act as the driving force behind the EU's legislative and political work. It also means Swedish Cabinet members and diplomats have to chair 3,000 meetings in Stockholm, Brussels and other cities in the next six months. Though this is not the first time for Sweden, a country of 9.2 million people, to take up a big challenge like leading half a billion peo...