Active in politics from a young age, Ylva Anna Maria Lindh became one of the most influential figures in modern Swedish politics. Born in 1957, Lindh studied law at Uppsala University before winning a seat in parliament in 1982. She took up her first cabinet post 12 years later as Minister for the Environment.
Life and times
In 1998, Lindh was appointed Foreign Minister in Prime Minister Göran Persson’s cabinet. She had a reputation as a straight talker and was especially outspoken on human rights.
- In Moscow, she severely criticised Russian actions in Chechnya.
- She was a forthright supporter of the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and fiercely opposed then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s policy towards the Palestinians.
- She opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq on the grounds that the United Nations had not sanctioned it.
- She castigated the United States while in Washington over the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
A vision for Europe
Lindh played a major role in developing Sweden’s presence in the EU as she chaired meetings of foreign ministers during Sweden’s 2001 EU presidency. In 2001, when conflict was looming in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (now North Macedonia), Lindh, as Europe’s chief envoy, was instrumental in unifying the strands of the EU’s usually disparate foreign policy which helped prevent further conflict.
More about Anna Lindh’s life, work and contribution to the European project