About the Government’s EU priorities in 2017

In its EU-related work in 2017, the Government give special priority to three areas: a Europe for jobs and inclusive growth, a more ambitious climate, energy and environment policy and a solidarity-based refugee and migration policy and a secure World.

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The EU is currently in a period of difficult challenges. Millions of people in Europe are out of work and do not feel they are participating in the society in which they live. In many parts, the citizens' confidence in the EU is low. This is reflected in the United Kingdom's vote to leave the EU. We are living in an increasingly unpredictable world. War and conflicts continue to propel people towards Europe in the hope of finding a safe haven. In addition, the threat of climate change is greater than ever. Last year, 2016, was the warmest on earth since records began.

For the Swedish Government it is clear that cross-border challenges require cross-border cooperation. The EU enables the Member States to find common solutions and must be a strong voice for peace and fundamental values, such as human rights, democracy, the rule of law and gender equality.

Despite the challenges, new and important decisions are being taken. In 2016, the EU adopted the Paris climate agreement, ushered in the UN Global Goals for sustainable development (the 2030 Agenda), signed a trade agreement with Canada (CETA), took steps towards a new common asylum policy and created a European Border and Coast Guard Agency. The EU has worked intensively to make people's everyday lives easier by improving the digital internal market, for example by facilitating cross-border eCommerce, reducing roaming charges and making it possible to use digital music and film services when travelling in Europe.

This shows that cooperation at EU level is needed. It is important for both addressing global challenges and making life easier for individuals. But cooperation must continue to be developed and improved. Not through major new projects that require treaty change, but by focusing on areas where there is added value in cooperating at European level. The decisions taken must be implemented. The Government also sees a need to gain traction for EU policy among citizens and has therefore started work to improve information and knowledge about the EU. The government has also started a new form of dialogue with the business sector and civil society in order to increase participation in matters decided within the EU.

Over the past year, Sweden has been particularly proactive on issues concerning jobs, climate and migration. The same three policy areas are priorities for 2017. In addition to these three areas, the Government's EU work in 2017 will be characterised by a strong commitment to protecting the interests of the EU and Sweden in negotiations over the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the EU.