Objectives for rural affairs

Initiatives within the policy area of rural affairs will contribute to good conditions for work, growth and welfare in all parts of the country – a cohesive Sweden. Agriculture, forestry and other businesses in rural areas, as well as the food industry, should be viable, drive innovation and contribute to climate change adaptation and the sustainable use of natural resources.

Rural areas are currently facing great challenges, but there are also good opportunities for the future. The Government's overall objective is for Sweden to have the lowest unemployment in 2020. Such an objective is dependent on viable and living rural areas. The Government wants to make use of the opportunities of rural areas and combine environmentally sustainable development with economic growth – a green growth – that provides the conditions to create increased employment and belief in the future throughout Sweden.

Animal welfare

The Government wants animal welfare to be improved and intends to work continually to improve animal welfare, both at home here in Sweden and throughout the EU. There are to be explicit requirements on livestock farming to give animals the opportunity for natural behaviour and to prevent behavioural disorders.

Fisheries

The Government wants to see sustainable fisheries, not only in Sweden and Europe, but also throughout the world. Contributing to this is consistent with Sweden's Policy for Global Development, which is the collective responsibility of the entire Government. Sustainable management of fisheries is essential if they are to be sustainable in the long term and contribute to employment.

Hunting and game conservation

Game in Sweden requires long-term management and is to exist in harmony with other rural industries and natural resources as a whole. The goal is for good management of wild game species to be characterised by a balance between damage, efforts to prevent damage and the benefits of game within the framework of sustainable utilisation.

Agriculture and rural development

Agricultural policy and forestry policy have much in common, but the circumstances differ as agricultural policy is largely governed at the EU level. Forestry policy is not regulated within the EU, but there are several global, European and Nordic collaborations in this area.

Agricultural and rural policy are largely governed at the EU level. The Government's long-term goal for the EU Common Agricultural Policy is a deregulated, market-oriented and competitive agricultural sector governed by consumer demand, climate and environmental objectives, and in which consideration is given to animal welfare and to Sweden's policy for global development. Sustainable utilisation of natural resources and sustainable development of agricultural production are also part of this vision. In addition to the production of food, renewable raw materials that can be produced by agriculture have great potential, for example in the production of energy.

Activities regarding rural development are mainly to be found within the Swedish Rural development programme for the period 2014-2020. The programme has three overall objectives - fostering the competitiveness of agriculture, ensuring sustainable management of natural resources and achieving a balanced territorial development of rural economies and communities.

Forestry

Forestry policy is not regulate d within the EU, but there are several global, European and Nordic collaborations in this area. Swedish forestry policy has two equal goals; a production goal and an environmental goal. The production goal involves forests and forested land being utilised efficiently and responsibly to generate a sustained good return. The environmental goal involves preserving the natural productive capacity of forest land and safeguarding biodiversity and the genetic diversity of forests. The cultural environment values of forests are to be protected, as are their aesthetic and social values. Nature conservation efforts are formulated using documents such as our national environmental quality objectives, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the EU's nature conservation directives.

Foodstuffs

Consumers are to be able to trust that food is safe and that the information on the foodstuffs they buy is correct. Making informed choices has to be simple. Consequently, businesses are responsible for ensuring that foodstuffs on the market are safe and correctly labelled. Official inspections of foodstuffs play an important role for both producers and consumers and are to be effective and equivalent throughout the country. Drinking water is the most important foodstuff and consumers are to have access to safe drinking water.