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Prime Minister for a decade, Persson guided Sweden through some of its most challenging economic crises
Former Prime Minister of Sweden (1996 – 2006)
Former leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party
Former President of the European Council
Honorary PhD in medicine, Örebro University
Topics Covered includeSustainable Development, EU development and EU enlargement, Leadership & Negotiations, International peace and development and The financial turnaround of Sweden 1994 - 1998
An experienced politician, Göran Persson is no stranger to public speaking and can inform, educate and motivate listeners.
Read Goran's Full Bio to find out more...
Social Democrat politician
Prime Minister for Sweden
for a decade, helping to address some of the country’s economic difficulties at the time.
Hans Göran Persson was born on the 20th of January 1949 in Sweden. Born into a working class family, he has revealed that his childhood ambition was to become a priest. When he was old enough, he studied social science at
. He decided not to complete the course, and left college in 1971.
After leaving Örebro, he became a member of the
national board of the Social Democratic Youth League (SSU)
. In 1975 he became a
city council politician
. He was made a member of parliament in 1979, but returned to Katrineholm as a
in 1985, staying in this role for four years.
Persson became the
Education’s Minister of Schools
in 1989, a position which was relatively short lived due to the fact
Social Democrat party
were not re-elected in 1991.
Sweden was afflicted by a recession in the early 1990s and in 1994, Persson and several colleagues presented a proposal, known as the
, in order to help address the issues facing the country’s economy. In 1994, the Social Democrats were voted back into power and Persson became
minister for finance
. In the two years he held this post, Persson worked to repair the Swedish economy.
Persson became the
Prime Minister of Sweden
in 1996. His work to stabilise the economy continued and by 1997, sufficient improvements had been made to allow Sweden to qualify for the
Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) of the European Union
. Although the Social Democrats were not voted into office in the 1998 election, support from other parties meant that Persson was able to retain his position.
The economy continued to improve and by 1999 growth was considerably above the European average.
was lowered in the year 2000 and the country was prospering once again. Soon afterwards, Sweden’s economy, like many others, was unexpectedly hit by the burst of the
dot com bubble
, meaning yet more careful financial management was required.
In 2001, during Sweden’s presidency of the EU, Persson was also
president of the European Council
. He remained Prime Minister of Sweden until 2006.
Career Post Politics
After leaving politics in 2007, Persson began working part time for
. Persson began working as
forestry business Sveaskog
Personal and Charitable Interests
Persson joined the
European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation
, which aims to research and reduce intolerance and prejudice, in 2008. Since 2010, he has been a member of the board of directors of the
World Resources Institute
, a think tank which aims to research methods to protect the environment, now and in the future.
Persson has been married three times; to Gunnel Claesson (with whom he has two children), between 1978 and 1995, and to Annika Barthine between 1995 and 2002. He married his current wife Anitra Steen in 2003.
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EU development and EU enlargement
Leadership & Negotiations
International peace and development
The financial turnaround of Sweden 1994 - 1998
"Min väg, mina val" (My Way, My Choices) (2007)
Dominique de Villepin
Frederik Willem De Klerk
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