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Sweden has a new centre-right coalition government. Lars Leijonborg, leader of the Liberal Party, is the new minister for education and research. Mr. Leijonborg was born in 1949 and has previously worked as a journalist and consultant. He has been a member of parliament since 1985 and has been leader of the Liberal Party since 1997. Mr. Leijonborg has also been appointed Chairman of the government’s new globalisation council. Jan Björklund, also from the Liberal Party, is the new minister for schools. Mr Björklund was born in 1962 and was previously vice-mayor for schools in Stockholm.
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said in his presentation to the Swedish parliament: “For many years, the focus of higher education policy has been quantitative expansion. The focus of the new Government will now switch to qualitative development.“ The new government plans to increase budgetary allocations for research by SEK 1 billion (ca. 108 million Euro), from SEK 3.5 billion in 2006 to SEK 4.5 billion in 2009. In a move intended to keep more researchers in Sweden and to attract more foreign researchers, VAT on non-governmental grants will be abolished. The government also intends to abolish the law that makes it mandatory for university students to join student unions. Furthermore, to increase higher education institutions' autonomy, the government plans to allow institutions to appoint all the members of its board. In the current system, the government appoints the chairman of the board of all public higher education institutions.New Swedish government