Criticism of Swedish language policy

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Wed Jan 9 14:22:38 UTC 2008


Criticism of Swedish language policy

The decision that employees in the public sector must speak Swedish at
work has led to protests in Finland. Consequently, Maarit Feldt-Ranta,
member of the Nordic Council, wants to know what the Swedish
government intends to do about the problem. The background to
Feldt-Ranta's question is that the social welfare administration in
Uppsala banned two Finnish-speaking employees to speak to each other
in Finnish. Uppsala Council and the Swedish Union of Local Government
Officers, SKTF, have also come to an agreement that Swedish must be
spoken in the administration's public places, for example, in the
staff coffee room.

"This decision is an insult to everyone belonging to a language
minority in Sweden, not least Finnish people. The decision is also
sensational considering that Finnish is an official minority language
in Sweden," writes Feldt-Ranta. She emphasizes that the rights of
language minorities constitute an important part of the Nordic
pluralistic social model. This topical question has already caused
annoyance amongst Finns. Finland's Minister of Justice has also raised
the question. Maarit Feldt-Ranta is a Finnish MP and member of
Finland's delegation to the Nordic Council. The members of the
Council, amongst other things, have posed a written question to the
national governments.

Tapio Pekkala, Finnish Government
+358 9 432 3503

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