Sweden announced on January 21 that it would close six embassies, while at the same time opening 10 new embassies by upgrading section offices in those countries.
Among the embassies to be closed was the Swedish embassy to Bulgaria. Besides the embassy in Sofia, other Swedish embassies to be closed this year are those in Bratislava, Dakar, Dublin, Ljubljana and Luxembourg.
Sweden intended to strengthen its presence in the Caucasus and the Balkans by upgrading to embassies the present section offices in Pristina (Kosovo), Tbilisi (Georgia), Chisinau (Moldova) and Tirana (Albania), a Swedish government media statement said.
“Within the framework of the close cooperation that exists between EU member states, there is scope for developing new forms for maintaining bilateral contacts in future,” Sweden’s foreign affairs minister Carl Bildt was quoted as saying.
“We want to be where we make the best possible use of the money that a Swedish presence costs. It is positive that we can use our resources to strengthen Sweden’s presence in a number of nearby countries,” Bildt said.
“Upgrading section offices to embassies is part of the process of supporting the implementation of Swedish-financed development assistance contributions in countries with which we conduct long-term development cooperation,” Sweden’s international development cooperation minister Gunilla Carlsson was quoted as saying.