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Jan O. Karlsson

Jan O. Karlsson (born 1939), Swedish politician, Minister for Development Cooperation, Migration and Asylum Policy from 2002 and from September 11, 2003 to October 10, 2003 acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, following the murder of Anna Lindh.


Jan O. Karlsson studied economics, political science and history at Stockholm University, before becoming an undersecretary at the Ministry of Agriculture in 1962. In 1968 he transfered to the Office of the Prime Minister where he worked as a advisor. From 1973 he served as secretary to the Deputy Mayor of Stockholm and in 1977 he became the deputy secretary for the presidency of the Nordic Council. Following the election in 1982 when the Social Democrats returned to power he was made state secretary at the Ministry of Finance. Following the election in 1988 he was instead made chairman for the government commission of inquiry on metropolitan areas, and in 1990 once again adviser and coordinator at the Prime Minister's Office.

Between 1991 and 1994 when the Social Democrats were out of office Mr. Karlsson worked as an advisor for the party parliamentary group. In the fall of 1994 the Swedes went to the ballot box on two occasions. The first swept the Social Democrats back to power and in the second Sweden joined the European Union. As a consequence of this Jan O. Karlsson was nominated by the Swedish Government as its representative to the European Court of Auditors in 1995, and on January 18, 1999 he became President of the Court. As the head of a principal organ in the European Union he held one of the most senior position within the European Union, number five in the top hierarchy. He held this position until December 31, 2001 when he resigned after being offered a cabinet post.


Jan O. Karlsson's tenure as minister has been far from smooth. Despite of a number of minor political scandals he has been able to maintain the trust of Prime Minister Göran Persson and keep his place in the Cabinet. His appointment as acting Minister for Foreign Affairs following the death of Anna Lindh on September 15, was generally seen as a short term solution. Changes in government, effective on October 10, forced him to resign his post.