Sweden takes over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union on 1 January. During six months, the country will lead the Council’s work, making security, resilience, prosperity, democratic values and the rule of law their priorities.
This year will be eventful for Sweden. Like its predecessors, it will have to cope with sharp inflation, Russia’s war on Ukraine, food security, and the need to secure the bloc’s energy supply, among others.
Swedish EU Council political priorities as Sweden
- Security – unity
- Resilience – competitiveness
- Prosperity – green & energy transition
- Democratic values and the rule of law – our foundation
Russia’s invasion will continue to be the backdrop to EU decision-making on everything from foreign and security policy to energy and agriculture.
In addition and accordingly to the Swedish Presidency programme, Sweden will actively promote the EU’s work to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, in parallel with an increase in competitiveness, employment, food production, and health and welfare. In this spirit, the implementation of the European Green Deal will be high on the agenda. The green and blue industries’ contribution to achieving the climate targets and their climate adaptation are essential in this context.
Swedish presidency also prioritises the revision of the food information to consumers regulation and, in particular, “its food labelling provisions”, according to their programme, made public on December, 14.
Taking over the reins at the Council
During the presidency, some new and revised legislative enactments within the EU will be negotiated and decided:
- Electricity market reform, the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), and the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD)
Continue to tackle high and volatile energy prices while addressing long-term energy market reform and prioritising efforts to create an open and competitive capital markets union to strengthen the internal market and bolster the green transition. The EU reducing its net emissions by 55 per cent by 2030 is crucial to climate transition worldwide. The EU’s Fit for 55 package* will play a decisive role, and the Swedish Presidency seeks to conclude its negotiations.
*The Fit for 55 package is vital so the EU can achieve its goal of climate neutrality by 2050.
- Nature Restoration Regulation and EU Framework for Forest Monitoring and Strategic Plans
Under the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, part of the European Green Deal, the Nature Restoration Regulation proposal aims to recover European habitats, 80% of which are in poor condition. The proposal would set specific legally binding targets and obligations for nature restoration in each listed ecosystem – from forest and agricultural land to marine, freshwater and urban ecosystems.
Since the approval of the New Forest Strategy for 2030, largely criticised by the Swedish Government on who should be responsible for forest policy, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the new EU Framework for Forest Monitoring and Strategic Plans . The consultation aims to develop an EU-wide forest observation framework to provide open access to detailed, accurate, regular and timely information on the condition and management of EU forests and the many products and ecosystem services that forests provide.
Indeed, any forest progress will be relevant, considering that roughly 70% of Sweden’s total land area is covered by forest. Sweden is the world’s fifth largest exporter of pulp, paper and sawn timber and the forest sector employs 115,000 people, according to the forestry lobby group Swedish Forest Industries.
These proposals are an important part of the Farm to Fork Strategy and play a significant role in helping consumers and producers make conscious and sustainable food choices.
The European Commission announced the ‘farm to fork strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system’ on 20 May 2020 as part of the European Green Deal. “The strategy aims to reduce the environmental and climate footprint of the EU food system and facilitate the shift to healthy and sustainable diets”. The plan targets the entire food chain and envisages empowering consumers through labelling information.
Advance the negotiations on the new Regulation on the sustainable use of plant protection products and pesticides.
The Sustainable Pesticide Use Directive aims to achieve sustainable use of plant protection products (PPPs) by reducing the risks and impacts of PPP use on human health and the environment and promoting integrated pest management and alternative approaches or techniques.
Read more about the Swedish Presidency programme.