Other important negotiation issues in 2017
Below are other important negotiation issues (apart from the three main priority issues) in EU-related work in 2017. They are divided up according to the configuration of the Council of the European Union under which they fall.
General Affairs Council (GAC)
A multiannual financial framework for the period after 2020
Before the end of 2017, the Commission is to present a proposal for a multiannual financial framework for the period after 2020 and likely proposals for changes to the current system for how the joint expenditures are to be financed. The Government intends to work for a restrictive total expenditure level for the next multiannual financial framework with the aim of safeguarding the scope of public finances nationally by keeping contributions to the EU down. The expenditures in the multiannual financial framework should be reprioritised in favour of measures that have clear European added value, such as to promote growth and competitiveness, initiatives in the area of justice and home affairs including migration as well as foreign policy including where relevant measures that contribute to climate change adaptation and resource efficiency. The expenditures for ineffective measures in the Common Agricultural Policy and Cohesion Policy should be considerably reduced. The Government intends to work to ensure that the burden of financing the EU's expenditures is shared according to means and principles of fairness. The rebate system will also play an important role in this context.
The rule of law
The Government intends to continue to promote respect for the rule of law in the EU by supporting the Commission's application of the framework to remove threats to the rule of law and by contributing to making the rule of law dialogues in the Council more results-oriented. These dialogues were established to strengthen the Member States' shared understanding of compliance with the rule of law, but need to be developed to become a more effective instrument.
European Elections Act reform
The European Parliament initiative for a reform of the European Elections Act indicates a strong wish to increase the European dimension in elections to the European Parliament by making the procedure more uniform and by more clearly linking national political parties to European parties. The Government supports the ambition to strengthen the European dimension in European Parliament elections. It is essential that the Elections Act does not conflict with Sweden's fundamental laws.
Foreign Affairs Council (FAC)
A European Defence Action Plan
The Government welcomes increased European cooperation in the defence materiel area and will actively contribute to the direction of the implementation of the European Defence Action Plan presented by the Commission at the end of 2016. Within the framework of the implementation of the action plan, proposals on a European defence fund to strengthen research and innovation in the defence area are expected to be a central negotiation issue.
Cooperation between the EU and NATO
The Government is positive to increased cooperation between the EU and NATO and, during the year, will work to ensure the efficient implementation of the joint declaration on deeper cooperation between the EU and NATO, signed in July 2016.
The EU-Africa Summit in November 2017, on the theme of youth, aims to evaluate the current roadmap and decide on future areas of cooperation. The Government will work to ensure deeper and equal partnership with Africa built on mutual interests. In parallel, work continues on the design of a new cooperation structure after the Cotonou Agreement expires in 2020. These separate processes, together with the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Africa's own Agenda 2063, could entail significant changes to the EU's relations with Africa.
Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN)
Deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU)
As a part of the broader discussion of the EU's future, it is expected that the deepening of the EMU in 2017 will focus on Stage 2 of the Five Presidents' Report. This may concern possible far-reaching institutional changes, such as a euro area ministry of finance and more binding convergence of economic policy. Sweden has a strong interest in an effective EMU. The Government therefore takes a positive view of the fact that various ways of improving the monetary union's functionality are being investigated. At the same time, the Government takes a sceptical view of far-reaching proposals in a federal direction, such as a common unemployment insurance system.
Economic situation in the EU and the euro area
There is currently a clear recovery in the EU and the euro area following several years of weak growth and high unemployment. At the same time, there are significant risks that could cause this recovery to falter. Several Member States suffer from weak public finances and banking sectors with low profitability and a large proportion of non-performing loans. This makes it important to actively monitor developments. The Government is working to ensure that EU Member States at national level take measures to increase growth and employment and secure long-term sustainable public finances.
Tax evasion, tax avoidance, tax fraud and harmful tax competition
Work to reduce tax evasion, tax avoidance, tax fraud and harmful tax competition is important to the Government, as are an effective internal market and safeguarding the authority of Member States in the tax area. The Swedish Government will work to ensure predictability and for administrative burdens and costs to be as low as possible. The Government also supports the EU's ongoing work to draw up a common EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions.
The financial union
The Government intends to work to ensure that all future proposals, including in the Capital Markets Union, meet requirements of transparency and financial stability and that strong and appropriate investor and consumer protections are maintained or reinforced. At the present time, Sweden does not intend to take part in the banking union, but it is an active party in the negotiations with the objective, in the event of possible future participation, that the banking union will be as successful as possible and entail equal treatment of those countries that do not use the euro.
Combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism
In light of the disclosures from the 'Panama Papers' and the terrorist attacks in recent years, work to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism is an increasingly topical issue. The Government will work to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to counteract the exploitation of the financial system to launder money or finance terrorism.
Stability and Growth Pact
The Stability and Growth Pact is the EU framework for ensuring sustainable public finances. In recent years, work has been done to clarify the application of the Pact's regulatory framework and the implementation will be monitored during the year. The Government considers it important for the credibility of the regulatory framework that the rules in the Stability and Growth Pact are respected and applied equally and transparently.
Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA)
Establishment of a European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO)
Since Sweden intends to remain outside the EPPO, the Government is working to ensure that relations between EPPO and non-participating Member States are as good as possible. The Government also continues to support the general application of the Public Access Regulation to all EPPO activities.
Regulation on reform of Eurojust
The Government considers that it is important that the cooperation between EPPO and Eurojust is regulated in a balanced way that does not affect the efficiency of Eurojust. Active work is under way to ensure that the Public Access Regulation also generally applies to all Eurojust activities.
Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO)
EU alcohol-related activities
The Government wants to see an ambitious alcohol policy with a focus on preventive measures. At EU level, the Government mainly wants to see initiatives regarding cross-border issues such as marketing and advertising, electronic commerce, pricing, import quotas and product labelling.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), particularly antibiotic resistance, is a growing global health threat. The Commission intends to present a new AMR action plan in 2017. Sweden plays an important role in international efforts and the Government intends to work for an ambitious EU action plan that connects human and animal health and the environment in a cross-sectoral way.
Serious cross-border health threats
The decision on serious cross-border threats to human health aims to protect public health by supporting cooperation and coordination between Member States and preventing and managing the spread of serious cross-border health threats. The decision established the Health Security Committee (HSC), consisting of representatives from the Member States. The cross-border dimension is central to health threats and management builds on strong cooperation. The Government safeguards the development of EU health efforts while national competencies are respected.
Environmental aspects of pharmaceutical production
The Government intends to continue pursuing the issue of the environmental impacts of pharmaceuticals, not least in light of their link to the risk of the emergence of antibiotic resistance. Work to review pharmaceutical legislation in the EU so that environmental aspects are considered needs to continue, including in the regulatory framework on good manufacturing practice. In negotiations on a new veterinary medicine regulation, the Government will work for greater environmental consideration in pharmaceutical legislation.
The Government will continue to work to ensure that Member States adopt the directive to tackle discrimination on the grounds of religion, sexual orientation, age or disability. Negotiations have been under way since 2008 and the negotiation situation is deadlocked since some Member States reject the proposals in their entirety. However, negotiations continue and the adoption of the directive is a priority issue for the Commission and several Member States, including Sweden.
Working environment directives
The Government is working for the modernisation of working environment directives to ensure that the regulatory framework becomes better adapted to modern working life and working environment risks. This should take place with a high level of protection and respect for national competencies and involve no reduction in the level of protection.
Competitiveness Council (COMPET)
Measures for enhanced movement of services in the internal market
On 10 January 2017, the Commission presented a 'services package' consisting of several legislative proposals to strengthen and improve the internal market for services. The package includes proposals on an improved notifications procedure for rules on services and proposals on a new European Services eCard that aims to allow service providers to only need to liaise with a single authority in their home country to, for example, apply for permission in another Member State. The Government has welcomed the Commission's services package in order to achieve full impact for the EU Services Directive and thus remove obstacles to Swedish service provider that want to extend their activities to new markets.
Measures for enhanced movement of goods in the internal market
In the second quarter of 2017, the Commission is expected to present a 'goods package' containing proposals to facilitate mutual recognition of goods and more effectively take measures against products on the market that do not comply with existing regulations. It is important for the Government that entrepreneurs are able to easily offer their products in other Member States provided these goods meet the correct level of protection. At the same time, it is important that the authorities are given the conditions and tools to control that goods circulating in the internal market actually meet existing requirements.
Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council (TTE)
Road transport market
In the forthcoming road transport initiative, a review is expected of, among other things, the ordinances on conditions for obtaining a licence to carry out international road transport, market access for international goods transport, market access for international bus transport and harmonisation of social legislation in the road transport area including cabotage. The Government is working to ensure that the rules are clear and that competition takes place on equal terms. Protection of social rights must be strengthened.
New electricity market design
At the end of 2016, the Commission presented proposals to revise existing legislation to bring about a new electricity market design. The Government emphasises the importance of an efficient internal energy market and will act to ensure that the new legislative proposal supports the transition to more efficient, flexible and dynamic markets for the benefit of the consumer, and that it can integrate a higher share of renewable energy.
Regulation on a governance system for the Energy Union
At the end of 2016, the Commission presented a proposal for a regulation on a governance system for the Energy Union. The aim was to streamline existing planning and reporting in the area and ensure that the 2030 targets for energy are achieved. The Government supports an enhanced governance system which focuses on the 2030 targets and gives the Member States flexibility in implementing legislation.
Agriculture and Fisheries Council (AGIRIFISH)
Communication on a future agricultural policy
In 2017, the Commission will propose amendments to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), ahead of the next budgetary period. Sweden has great interest in how the CAP develops and during 2017 there is an opportunity to informally together with other Member States influence the design of the communication and thus possible amendments to the CAP after 2020.
Environment Council (ENVI)
Updating regulation on carbon dioxide requirements for light vehicles
In 2017, the Commission is expected to present new post-2020 carbon dioxide standards for light vehicles. The Government is working to ensure that these carbon dioxide standards are as ambitious as possible, with the ambition of striving towards a situation where only zero-emission vehicles may be sold after 2030.
Measurement methods for fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions from heavy vehicles
Work is in progress in the Commission's Technical Committee on Motor Vehicles to develop a method to measure fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions from all heavy vehicles. The Commission is expected to present a proposal for a measurement method at the beginning of 2017. The Government supports the Commission in this work and intends to act to ensure a speedy adoption and entry into force. A reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from heavy vehicles is an important measure for achieving EU climate targets.
Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council (EYCS)
Directive on audiovisual media services without borders (Audiovisual Media Services Directive)
The Commission's proposal to revise the Audiovisual Media Services Directive was presented in May 2016 and negotiations are expected to conclude during the year. The proposal aims to update the Directive by, among other things, expanding its scope of application to include new services. The main aim is to create more equal conditions between new and traditional television and video services and strengthen the protection of minors on new platforms. The Government is working to guarantee that the regulatory framework is compatible with the Swedish Constitution. The Government strives to safeguard and balance Swedish interests, such as strong support for a developed internal market and an open and free internet, with broad freedom of expression and strong consumer protection especially with regard to alcohol advertising, advertising targeting children, and advertising for gambling.