On 1 January 2023, Sweden will take over the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, currently held by the Czech Republic. The Scandinavian country will close up the trio of presidencies for 2022-2023, finalising the 18-month programme jointly drafted and brought forward in cooperation with its predecessors Czech Republic and France.
The upcoming Swedish Presidency will continue working on the ongoing files on behalf of the Council of the EU, while it will identify specific areas to drive the EU’s agenda forward. In this article, Ecommerce Europe provides a snapshot of the expected priorities of the Swedish government for its EU Presidency in H1 2023, ahead of the publication of the official programme in December 2022.
The Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU will come only few months after the set-up of a new government led by the centre-right Moderates, supported from far-right Sweden Democrats. In addition, the international context in which the country will spearhead the work of the Council of the EU is a tumultuous one, with a spiralling energy crisis fuelled by the war in Ukraine. Despite the delicate circumstances, Sweden is set to take the reins of the Council of the EU, with over 200 people involved in the preparation of the Presidency. A clear focus is due to be placed on concrete legislation. Moreover, as stressed by Lars Danielsson, Ambassador at the Permanent Representation of Sweden to the EU in Brussels, Sweden stands before the “unique opportunity to be involved and make progress on issues that are of great importance to [them], such as the climate, energy, migration and security”.
During its mandate, the Swedish Presidency plans to hold around 2,000 formal meetings in Brussels and Luxembourg, as well as over 100 events in Sweden. These include both informal ministerial meetings but also attaché trips and conferences organised by a range of government public bodies, notably the Swedish parliament. The events will tackle Sweden’s EU priorities, which will mainly revolve around security, the twin transitions and competitiveness, as outlined by Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in October 2022. The new government is bound, to a certain extent, to the priorities identified and brokered across the parties before its election. Besides prioritising negotiations of files under the migration and asylum pact, the Swedish Presidency is expected to move forward on the flagship “Fit for 55” package, even though the new government decided to do away with the previous standalone environment ministry. Besides the ubiquitous twin transitions, free trade agreements and SMEI would be tackled.
Most importantly, the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU will address certain files of foremost relevance to the e-commerce sector. The metaverse and its regulation will constitute a topic of interest to the Presidency. Consumer law will be addressed as a priority in this field, especially in light of the ongoing inflation. The final, full version of the presidency programme, including the agendas of the working groups, will be presented by the new Prime Minister to the Swedish Parliament in December. Ecommerce Europe will follow the institutional developments and will make sure that the horizontal interests of the sector will be heard by the incoming Presidency.