Tobias Billström

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Tobias Billström
Member of the Riksdag
Assumed office
30 September 2002
ConstituencyMalmö Municipality (2002–2022)
Stockholm County (2022–)
Personal details
Born
Tobias Lennart Billström

(1973-12-27) 27 December 1973 (age 50)
Malmö, Sweden
Political partyModerate Party
Spouse
Sofia Åkerman
(m. 2009)
Children1
MPhil
)

Tobias Lennart Billström (born 27 December 1973) is a Swedish politician of the

Member of the Riksdag since the 2002 general election, representing Malmö Municipality (2002–2022) and Stockholm County
(since 2022).

He previously served as

First Deputy Speaker of the Riksdag
from 2014 to 2017.

Education

Billström has a

University of Lund. While at Cambridge, he was a member of Selwyn College. His essays in history concerned subject areas of British colonial history, especially officers stationed in India and Jamaica. Billström became politically active through the Moderate Youth League. During his studies, he was active in the Confederation of Swedish Conservative and Liberal Students as chairman of Malmö Association FMS Gryphus, and sat on the board of the student union
Lunds humanistkår. Billström began his studies in Lund in the Philosophy Department, where he read 20 points scientific basics for Victoria Höög.

Member of the Riksdag

Billström became a

Swedish Migration Board
in November 2005, a position he left when he was appointed Minister in 2006.

Billström participated as a Member of the Riksdag in the discussion of migration policy. He opposed the temporary asylum law that was implemented by the

social democratic Persson cabinet
, arguing that the law was not fair and that it was based on collective judgment.

Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy

Billström became

Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy on 6 October 2006.[2] Billström was stationed in the Ministry of Justice, unlike his immediate predecessors, who had been stationed in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs
.

Labour immigration

Once it took office in October 2006, the

Reinfeldt Cabinet set a new aim for Swedish migration policy, which was to increase the opportunities for labour immigration. Billström emphasised the importance of creating a balance in the policy area where asylum issues often dominate.[3] He also pointed out that labour immigration today is a way to help developing countries beyond the traditional aid.[4]

Re-establishment support

The government implemented, on 1 August 2007, a re-establishment support to facilitate the repatriation of those who have had their asylum applications rejected.[5]

Middle East

Billström stated that countries in Europe and the world should help refugees from Iraq who fled during the Iraq War. He emphasised the need for a very strong common asylum and migration policy, and that this could give more Iraqis in need of protection to access this.

The work was given a start with the article that Billström wrote with

Sharm el-Sheikh.[8]

From 30 March until 4 April 2007, Billström, as the first European Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy, made a trip to Syria and Jordan to create a picture of the situation of the Iraqi refugees residing there. At the time he was interviewed in Damascus by Sveriges Radio.[9]

In classified documents revealed by Wikileaks, Billström, together with Carl Bildt during the two men's visit to the American Ambassador Ryan Crocker in Baghdad in 2007, reported the Iraqi refugee situation in Sweden, specifically mentioning honour killings and the Swedish opinion of restricting immigration.[10]

Controversial statements

In an interview about illegal immigrants hidden in Sweden on 18 March 2013, Billström said that "Sometimes we have the impression that the person who is hidden lives with a nice blonde Swedish lady in her fifties or sixties who wants to help. But that's not true. The vast majority [of hidden illegal immigrants] live with their compatriots who are not blond and blue-eyed."[11]

The statement was severely criticised by both

Moderate Youth League, youth league of the Moderate Party, Erik Bengtzboe also criticised the statement, and called for Billström to apologise and to think about what he had said.[12]

Some even called for Billström's resignation from the position of Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy.[13] The right-wing Sweden Democrats party leader Jimmie Åkesson welcomed Billström's statement and said "that he was on the right track".[13]

In the early afternoon on the same day, Billström officially apologised for his statement and said that his words came out in the wrong way, and that what he said was not what he really meant. Fredrik Reinfeldt, the Prime Minister of Sweden, welcomed Billström's apology.[14]

In response to the attacks on Gaza by Israel following the

Hamas attacks on 7 October 2023, Billström said that Israel's response had been proportionate.[15] This received heavy criticism,[16] from ActionAid and Amnesty.[17] An official complaint was filed by Sweden's left party.[18]

First Deputy Speaker

Billström was elected First Deputy Speaker on 29 September 2014. He resigned from the position in October 2017, to become Moderate Party leader in the Riksdag.

Minister for Foreign Affairs (2022-present)

Billström with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto in Washington, D.C., 8 December 2022

On 18 October 2022, he was announced as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the

Kristersson Cabinet.[19] On his first day Billström stated that he would not use the term "feminist foreign policy" as his predecessor.[20]

On 31 October 2023, Billström expressed support for

2023 Israel–Hamas war, saying that Israel's response was "proportionate, in relation to its right to defend itself."[21]

List of international trips made by Tobias Billström

Since becoming Minister for Foreign Affairs, Billström has made a number of international trips.

List of international trips
Country Location(s) Dates Source
2022
 Finland Helsinki 21 October 2022 [22]
 Estonia Tallinn 1 November 2022 [23]
 Finland Helsinki 2 November 2022
 Germany Berlin 10 November 2022 [24]
 Belgium Brussels 14 November 2022 [25]
 Jordan Amman 15–17 November 2022 [26]
 France Paris 21 November 2022 [27]
 Lithuania Vilnius 22 November 2022 [28]
 Ukraine Kyiv 28 November 2022 [29]
 Romania Bucharest 29–30 November 2022 [30]
 Poland Łódź 1–2 December 2022 [31]
 United States
Washington D.C.
6–8 December 2022 [32]
 Belgium Brussels 12 December 2022 [33]
 Turkey Ankara 21–22 December 2022 [34]
2023
 Belgium Brussels 23 January 2023 [35]
 Latvia Riga 27 January 2023 [36]
 Norway Tromsø 31 January 2023 [37]
 Finland Helsinki 7 February 2023 [38]
 Germany Munich 17–19 February 2023 [39]
 Belgium Brussels 19 February 2023 [40]
 India New Delhi 2–4 March 2023 [41]
 Italy Rome 3 April 2023 [42]
 Serbia Belgrade 19–20 April 2023 [43]
 Montenegro Podgorica
 Bosnia and Herzegovina Sarajevo
 Kosovo Pristina
 Moldova Chișinău 26–27 April 2023 [44]
 Estonia Tallinn 2–4 May 2023 [45]
 Iceland Reykjavík 16–17 May 2023 [46]
 Belgium Brussels 22 May 2023 [47]
 Norway Oslo 31 May–1 June 2023 [48]
 Germany Wismar 1 June–2 June 2023 [49]
 Belgium Brussels 8 June 2023 [50]
 Poland Warsaw 12 June 2023 [51]
 Iceland Ísafjörður 12–13 June 2023 [52]
 France Paris 16 June 2023 [53]
 Luxembourg Luxembourg 26 June 2023 [54]
 United States
Washington D.C.
4–5 July 2023 [55]
 Belgium Brussels 6 July 2023 [56]
 Lithuania Vilnius 10–12 July 2023 [57]
 Latvia Riga 6–7 September 2023 [58]
 United States New York City 18–26 September 2023 [59]
 Netherlands The Hague 28 September 2023 [60]
 Oman Muscat 9–10 October 2023 [61]
 Saudi Arabia Riyadh
 Luxembourg Luxembourg 23 October 2023 [62]
 Norway Oslo 1 November 2023 [63]
 Germany Berlin 2 November 2023 [64]
 Lithuania Vilnius 6 November 2023 [65]
 Finland Helsinki 8 November 2023 [66]
 Belgium Brussels 13 November 2023 [67]
 Finland Helsinki 27-28 November 2023 [68]
 Belgium Brussels 28-29 November 2023 [69]
 North Macedonia Skopje 29-30 November 2023 [70]
 France Paris 12 December 2023 [71]
 Belgium Brussels 11 December 2023 [72]
 Norway Oslo 14-15 December 2023 [73]
2024
 Lithuania Vilnius 11-12 January 2024 [74]
 Belgium Brussels 22 January 2024 [75]
 Belgium Brussels 1-2 February 2024 [76]
 Germany
München
16-18 February 2024 [77]
 India Bangalore 20 February 2024 [78]
New Delhi 21–23 February 2024 [79]
 United States
Washington D.C.
6–7 March 2024 [80][81]
 Belgium Brussels 11 March 2024 [82]
 Germany Berlin 21 March 2024 [83]
 Finland
Esbo
26 March 2024 [84]
 Belgium Brussels 3–4 April 2024 [85]
 United Kingdom London 15–16 April 2024 [86]
 Luxembourg Luxembourg 22 April 2024 [87]
 Denmark Copenhagen 2–3 May 2024 [88]
 United States ( Texas) Texas 13–15 May 2024 [89]

Other activities

Personal life

He is the first openly

bisexual person to serve as minister in a Swedish cabinet.[92]
He is married to Sofia Åkerman with whom he has one daughter.

TV license controversy

On 11 October 2006, less than a week after he took office, it was revealed that Billström deliberately had neglected to pay his television licence for ten years, despite owning a television. Billström stated that his neglect was based on his political standpoint against public service, but that he had come to appreciate public service and that he believed that citizens and especially legislators should follow the law. Billström also expressed his ambition to repay his debt with interest.[93] However, on 12 October 2006, Radiotjänst i Kiruna AB, a private agency tasked with collecting the license fees, filed criminal charges against Billström together with two other ministers in the Reinfeldt Cabinet: Cecilia Stegö Chilò and Maria Borelius, with the latter two resigning on 14 and 16 October 2006. Billström stated that he intended to remain in office and had no intention of resigning.[94]

Honours

National
Foreign

References

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External links

Government offices
Preceded by
Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy

2006–2014
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Employment
2010
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Foreign Affairs
2022–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
First Deputy Speaker of the Riksdag

2014–2017
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by
Swedish Riksdag

2017–2022
Succeeded by