She was a student at the University of Gothenburg
from 1992 to 1999, becoming a research assistant (1994). She then gained a PhD in political science with a thesis titled The Region, the Power and the Glory: Regional Parties in Western Europe
(1998), and became a senior lecturer at the Department of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg (1998–99).
Her thesis was on regional parties in western Europe, focusing on Catalonia
, Spain and Lombardy
She has researched and taught in the fields of European politics
She is fluent in Swedish
, English, Spanish and French, and has intermediate skills in German and Italian.
Malmström has been a member of the Swedish Liberals party since the late 1980s, sitting on the party executive since 1997, and was a member of the Västra Götaland
Regional Council from 1998 to 2001. In 2007, when Jan Björklund
was elected party leader, she was appointed first vice party chairman.
Member of the European Parliament, 1999–2006
As a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Malmström wrote a critical report on the EU's Russia
strategy. In 2002 she became the Liberal group's spokeswoman on foreign affairs.
She nominated Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá
for the Sakharov Prize
, which he received from the Parliament in 2002.
In 2001, Malmström and nine fellow MEPs – including Nick Clegg
and Helle Thorning-Schmidt
– founded the Campaign for Parliamentary Reform (CPR) to press for changes to the way the European Parliament functions on a day-to-day basis.
She has also campaigned for greater public access to official documents.
Swedish Minister for European Affairs, 2006–2010
Malmström supports Swedish adoption of the euro currency, and in August 2007 she was one of the politicians calling for another referendum
on euro membership (the first was in 2003). "We respect the result of the referendum, of course, but still think that one should be able to argue for something one believes in, a lot had changed since the 2003 referendum, Slovenia has joined, Malta and Cyprus are joining at the beginning of next year. Next year, at least two Baltic countries will join. In 2010-11 there could be eight or nine new members. The more members there are, the greater the political price of being outside, because we can't make a difference, Sweden had lost out economically by not joining the single European currency." She cited a report from the National Board of Trade: "We have lost 100 billion kronor in exports and the same amount in imports. Our trade with the eurozone would have been 13–14 percent greater if we had been members."
Member of the European Commission, 2010–2019 European Commissioner for Home Affairs, 2010–2014
One of her first initiatives as a Commissioner
of the European Union
was to propose a directive
advocating stronger sanctions against sexual abuse of children,
in which one of the proposals was to create a duty for EU member states to block access to child pornography on the Internet.
Critics interpret that as the creation of a net censorship infrastructure which would not help children, but would indeed be counterproductive
and a dangerous threat to democracy.
NGOs working for children's rights, such as Save the Children and NSPCC, have, however, defended the proposal.
Malmström was quickly rewarded with the nickname 'Censilia' on the social web and in – mostly German – dailies,
a portmanteau word
blending the word "censorship" and her given name ("Cecilia"), in imitation of the "Zensursula" nickname of the German minister Ursula von der Leyen
who failed to establish similar filtering techniques in Germany following a decision to prioritize the deletion of illegal websites.
At the same period (March 2010), in pursuit of her efforts to strengthen the safety and security of European
citizens, Malmström secured a political agreement between the European Parliament
, the Council and the Commission
to implement Article 10 of the United Nations' Firearms Protocol that combats the trafficking of illicit civilian firearms.
On 11 March 2011, during the Seventh European Day of Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism, at a conference on "The role of Victims of Terrorism in preventing violent radicalization", which was held in Brussels, Malmström gave a speech setting out the devastating effects of terrorism on a personal as well as on a state level,
closing with the announcement of the forthcoming (R.A.N.) project (see next paragraph).
In September 2011, Malmström officially launched the Radicalisation Awareness Network (R.A.N.),
a project aimed at tackling terrorism and violent extremism
through preventive measures, rather than through confrontation. The project comes as an additional tool of the EU's Counter-Terrorism and Measures to Combat Radicalisation and Recruitment to Terrorism Strategies.
Less than a year later, the project had become a pan-European network of scientists, psychologists, NGOs, victims of terrorism, religious leaders, representatives of civil society and police officers, together with an advisory board.
On 2 May 2012, Malmström gave a lecture to students and professors at Harvard University
on immigration and asylum, discussing with her audience various issues related to integration, terrorism and human trafficking, as well as the European crisis. The visit in Cambridge
was followed by a meeting with the US Attorney General Eric Holder
in Washington D.C. and an evening at the F.B.I.
, where there was a major exchange of views about the planning of the forthcoming European Cybercrime Centre (E.C.3).
Malmström's short trip in the US was completed with a speech on Cyber Security at a Conference in the C.S.I.S.
On 26 November 2012, together with Rob Wainwright
, director of Europol
, Malmström announced the launch of the new European Financial Coalition against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Online.
The aims of the Coalition are to support international law enforcement investigations wherever possible through co-operation with private stakeholders; to assess and study commercial child sexual exploitation on the Internet through all kinds of Internet environments, such as hosting services and newsgroups; to help protect legitimate private business interests from possible misuse of their services by criminals aiming to distribute child sexual abuse content through different information and communication technologies; to enable law enforcement and private companies to counteract the problem through training and resource-sharing; and to keep decision makers informed and raise awareness among the public.
The alliance, which met strong support from Wainwright,
is an initiative aimed at uniting decision-makers all around the world, in order to improve the identification of, and assistance to, victims, and the prosecution of the perpetrators. The alliance is one of the greatest projects ever created in this field, as its participants include 48 nations worldwide (The 27 EU member states, as well as 21 non EU countries – Albania
, Australia, Cambodia
, Georgia, Ghana
, Japan, Moldova
, New Zealand
, the Philippines
, Republic of Korea
, United States of America, and Vietnam
On 11 January 2013, Wainwright and Malmström officially launched the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), which is aiming to tackle cybercrime:
- committed by organised groups to generate large criminal profits, such as online fraud
- causing serious harm to the victim, such as online child sexual exploitation
- affecting critical infrastructure and information systems in the EU
European Commissioner for Trade, 2014–2019
The mission letter for Malmström's position also included, as one of her key duties, the "successful conclusion" of the controversial trade negotiations with the US, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
(TTIP), though with a number of restrictions and confinements to the negotiation mandate to address European public concerns over TTIP.
Having expressed a view strongly in favour of the treaty,
she tried to revive the negotiations with the USA two weeks after entering office.
Despite claims of an "unprecedented level of transparency", the treaty drafts could not be read by all parliaments of EU member states, such as the German Bundestag
, or political leaders such as then-vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel
In May 2015, Malmström and Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci
announced a framework for broadening the European Union–Turkey Customs Union
, extending it to include services, government contracting and most agricultural goods.
Also under her leadership, the EU finalized the negotiations on a major trade agreement with Vietnam
in August 2015, removing 99 per cent of tariffs between Europe and Vietnam over the following decade as well as non-tariff barriers to trade, services, investment, intellectual property
, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, government procurement, dispute settlement and sustainable development.
In September 2020, the government of Prime Minister Stefan Löfven
nominated Malmström as Sweden's candidate for secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD
During the selection process, she became a finalist but ultimately lost out against Mathias Cormann
in March 2021.
In a discussion with John Hilary, the executive director of War on Want
, which he wrote about in The Independent
on 12 October 2015, Malmström reportedly acknowledged "that a trade deal has never inspired such passionate and widespread opposition" and is reported to have commented: "I do not take my mandate from the European people."
Malmström later denied having said this, calling it a "fabricated quote" extrapolated from her explanations about the TTIP
negotiation mandate, which is determined by the European governments and not by the Europeans themselves.
She also argued before the European Parliament
that she did take her mandate from the European people since she was approved as Commissioner
by the MEPs who represent them.
Hilary did not retract his version of the story.
Malmström is married and has children. She lives in Brussels, Belgium.
She is the author of several books, articles and essays on regional parties, regionalism, Spanish politics, European politics, immigration and terrorism.
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- ^ The German Marshall Fund and Bundeskanzler-Helmut-Schmidt-Stiftung Launch "Transatlantic Task Force" Setting Path Forward for U.S.-Europe Relations German Marshall Fund, press release of 12 December 2019.
- ^ "Cecilia Malmström – Sweden's candidate for the position of OECD Secretary-General". Stockholm: Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 1 September 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
- ^ GV De Clercq and Richard Lough (March 12, 2021), Australia's Cormann to lead OECD, climate activists dismayed Reuters.
- ^ Friends of Europe appoints 29 new members to its Board of Trustees Friends of Europe, press release of 25 June 2020.
- ^ MPI Board of Trustees Approves New Members with Distinguished Experience in Government, Private Sector & Law Migration Policy Institute (MPI), press release of 17 June 2020.
- ^ Membership Trilateral Commission.
- ^ "John Hilary: "I didn't think TTIP could get any scarier, but then I spoke to the EU official in charge of it"".
- ^ a b "EU Trade Commissioner claims War on Want leader 'fabricated' TTIP quote". The Independent. 15 October 2015. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
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Last edited on 29 April 2021, at 13:02
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