EU Common Foreign and Security Policy

During the last 50 years, European cooperation has greatly contributed to preserving peace, consolidating democracy and developing common values in large parts of Europe. In the same way, the continued deepening and enlargement of the European Union is currently our primary instrument for promoting democracy, solidarity and security throughout Europe.

Sweden's membership of the European Union is of fundamental importance to our security policy. Membership means that we are part of a political alliance, based on a community of values and mutual solidarity. The EU is also a tool that allows us to take joint action and thus have a greater impact in other parts of the world.

Common goals and a common view of the world

Our membership of the EU means that we participate in the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). EU Member States have agreed that the goals of the Common Foreign and Security Policy are:

  • to safeguard the common values, fundamental interests, independence and integrity of the Union,
  • to strengthen the security of the Union in all ways,
  • to preserve peace and strengthen international security,
  • to promote international cooperation,
  • to develop and consolidate democracy and the rule of law, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

EU Member States have also agreed on a security strategy in which we jointly express our view of the world in terms of security-related matters, and also how we want the strategic goals of the EU to be formulated. This strategy gives the Member States a common political starting point, and creates opportunities to better communicate the EU's position to other countries.

Joint action

Through foreign policy cooperation, EU Member States comment and act in a unified manner on a daily basis in foreign and security policy issues concerning the Union. Normally, decisions as to what the EU is to do are taken by the Ministerial Council (usually the General Affairs and External Relations Council), where unanimity is the guiding principle. Both Member States and the Commission have the right to submit proposals to the Council on what they want the EU to do.

Most of the important international issues are discussed among EU Member States, and this often leads to various kinds of joint action. This can involve such matters as:

  • joint statements
  • common positions in international organisations such as the UN and the OSCE
  • regular political dialogues between the EU and other countries and organisations
  • participation in peace negotiations and political and economic sanctions, and different types of civilian and military peace-support operations in conflict-ridden areas.

Together with the Union's aid policy and trade policy, the foreign and security policy instruments thus form a part of the Union's unique array of tools that can be used to help promote international peace and security. Even other policy areas, such as energy policy, environmental policy or police and judicial cooperation, are gaining an increasingly important external dimension as countries and people around the world become linked together even more closely.

Today, the CFSP is a natural part of Sweden's foreign policy. The CFSP gives Sweden better opportunities to achieve results in prioritised foreign policy issues such as human rights, promotion of democracy, poverty reduction and international security. In the same way, Sweden is a natural part of the CFSP. Sweden's participation has strengthened the CFSP and the EU has become a more innovative actor in several important areas.