Ylva Johansson

Image by/from Frankie Fouganthin

Most governments around the world have politicians to represent the elderly.

It may be that these responsibilities form part of a wider role, however some nations are better than others at allocating time and resources to the elderly, especially when it comes to addressing specific needs for support.

One great example of a politician taking on a role of this nature is Ylva Johansson of Sweden. Let’s look a little closer at her achievements.

Ylva Julia Margareta Johansson (born 13 February 1964) is a Swedish politician who served as Minister for Employment in the Swedish Government from 2014 to 2019. She previously served as Minister for Schools from 1994 to 1998 and as Minister for Welfare and Elderly Healthcare from 2004 to 2006. She has been a member of the Swedish Riksdag since 2006.

In addition to public service in politics, Ylva has led a career dedicated to helping other, particularly in the field of teaching.

Ylva Johansson studied at Lund University and the Stockholm Institute of Education 1983-88 and 1991-92 and holds a Master of Science in education. Upon graduating, she worked as math, physics and chemistry teacher.

In the 1988 general elections Johansson was elected as a member of the Riksdag for the Left Party – Communists (VPK). She later left the party and joined the Social Democrats.

From 1992 to 1994 Johansson worked as a teacher, until Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson made her Minister for Schools in his government. In 1998, she and the then Minister for Finance Erik Asbrink announced their wish to “publicly confirm that we are in love” and their intention to separate from their respective partners. Soon afterwards, Johansson left the government. The following years, she worked in the private sector.

In 2004, Prime Minister Goran Persson appointed Ylva Johansson to the government in a new position, as Minister for Health and Elderly Care, succeeding Lars Engqvist.

This was the period where she was known for her dedication to support and resolve the issue facing the more elderly members of the Swedish population.

From 2014, she served as Minister for Employment in the government of Prime Minister Stefan Lofven. During her time in office, she worked to tighten labor immigration laws.

In the 2013 Social Democrat party congress, the goal was set that Sweden should have the lowest rate of unemployment in the EU. While the Social Democrats and Green Party were in power, unemployment decreased more in other EU countries than Sweden and by 2019, Sweden’s place in the unemployment ranking slipped to 18 with an unemployment rate of 6.2%, where the first spot was occupied by Czech Republic at 1.7%.

Following the 2019 European elections, Lofven nominated Johansson as Sweden’s candidate for the post of European Commissioner.

During a question & answer session in October 2019 in the European Parliament, Johansson was asked on whether Swedish policy on gang crime and migration would be exported to the EU level. Johansson responded that she was “proud that Sweden received so many refugees”. Due to Johansson’s vague answers on her ideas about an EU asylum and migration policy would be handled in practical terms. Instead of being approved she was asked to return with answers to the questions left unanswered in the session.

Johansson has been described as the “left wing of the Social Democrats.”

In March 2018, Johansson appeared on the BBC, where she claimed that the number of reported rapes and sexual harassment cases in Sweden “is going down and going down and going down.” Johansson later apologized and admitted that the opposite is true.

Johansson has two children with her former husband Bo Hammar and a son with Erik Asbrink. She an honorary member of Hammarby football club.

About Valerie