Government terms


  • Act of Succession

    (successionsordningen, SOK)
    Enacted in 1810, the oldest of Sweden's four fundamental laws provides for the succession to the throne. See also fundamental law.

  • Agency

    See central government authority.

  • Agenda

    A list of all matters and other business to be raised and discussed at a meeting.

  • Appropriation

    A sum of money in the central government budget which the Riksdag decides may be used for a specific purpose.

  • Appropriation directions

    Government directive putting an appropriation at the disposal of the spending authority and specifying the allocation of the appropriated funds.

  • Authority

    See central government authority.



  • Budget bill

    Annual government budget proposal, normally submitted to the Riksdag in the autumn. The bill includes a revised budget statement, budget policy objectives, expenditure frameworks, appropriation proposals and a forecast of government revenue. It must be brought before the Riksdag not later than 20 September, except in an election year, when it must be submitted not later than one week after the opening of parliament unless the proceedings are obstructed by a change of government.

  • Budget material

    The authorities' proposals for financing their operations in the coming years.

  • Budget statement

    Part of the budget bill and spring fiscal policy bill setting out general guidelines for economic policy.



  • Cabinet meeting

    Meeting of government ministers, normally held every Thursday, at which collective decisions are taken. See also Government, the.

  • Central government authority

    Administratively autonomous national authority, subordinate to the Government and responsible for implementing public policies, overseeing the provision of many public services and discharging a range of regulatory functions. Examples include the National Board of Health and Welfare and the tax authorities.

  • Circulation for comment

    A special joint drafting procedure whereby a matter or proposal from a minister is circulated to other ministers and certain officials in the Government Offices for scrutiny and comment. See also joint drafting procedure.

  • Committee

    Committees are regularly appointed by the Government on a temporary basis to inquire into a matter and submit recommendations. A committee's terms of reference (kommittédirektiv) define the scope and direction of its inquiry.

  • Committee report

    Report or proposal submitted by a committee or commission of inquiry appointed by the Government, normally published in the Swedish Government Official Reports series. The Riksdag's committees also publish their conclusions in committee reports.

  • Coreper

    (Comité des représentants permanents)
    Committee of Permanent Representatives. Comprises the EU Ambassadors of the member states (coreper II) and their representatives (coreper I). Coreper prepares the items of business to be discussed in the Council of Ministers.

  • Council of State

    Meeting of the Government and the Head of State, chaired by the latter. A Council of State is always convened when there is a change of government. See also head of state.

  • Council on Legislation

    A body mainly composed of Supreme Court and Supreme Administrative Court Judges. Its function is to pronounce on the legal validity of legislative proposals at the request of the Government or a parliamentary standing committee.



  • Declaration of no confidence

    If more than half the Riksdag's members approve a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister, the entire government is forced to resign. An individual minister may also be the subject of a declaration of no confidence.

  • Deputy Director

    Middle-ranking government official in the Government Offices.

  • Desk Officer

    Government public official responsible for preparing and drafting proposals for decision.

  • Director

    Senior government official, normally an executive position.

  • Director-General for Administrative Affairs

    Senior government official responsible for ensuring that administrative matters are processed in a lawful, consistent and uniform manner.

  • Director-General for Legal Affairs

    Senior government official; responsibilities include the drafting of legislative proposals and ensuring that these are lawful, consistent and uniform.

  • Disposable income

    (disponibel inkomst)
    The income at the disposal of an individual or household after tax has been paid and the transfer payments the individual or household is entitled to have been received (e.g. child allowance, housing allowance, unemployment benefit).



  • Election

    See general election.

  • Expenditure area

    Government budget expenditure is divided into expenditure areas. These are defined in the Riksdag Act.

  • Expenditure ceiling

    The expenditure ceiling is a maximum level for government expenditure, i.e. a limit on the amount of money the Government is allowed to spend in the course of a year.



  • Foreign exchange reserves

    The Riksbank's (Swedish central bank) holdings of gold, currencies and foreign securities.

  • Formal government meeting

    (allmän beredning)
    Meeting of government ministers to discuss major issues or important matters of principle; normally held on Thursdays after the cabinet meeting.

  • Freedom of the Press Act

    (tryckfrihetsförordningen, TF)
    One of the four fundamental laws in the Swedish Constitution. The Act protects freedom of expression in printed publications and the principle of public access to official documents. See also fundamental law.

  • Fundamental law

    Law determining the constitution and government of a state. Sweden has four fundamental laws: the 1974 Instrument of Government, the 1810 Act of Succession, the Freedom of the Press Act of 1949, and the 1991 Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression.

  • Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression

    (yttrandefrihetsgrundlagen, YGL)
    Enacted in 1991, the most recent of Sweden's four fundamental laws guarantees freedom of expression in media not covered by the Freedom of the Press Act. See also fundamental law.



  • General election

    (allmänna val)
    Nation-wide elections - held every four years on the third Sunday in September - to the Swedish Riksdag and municipal and county councils. Extra elections to the Riksdag may be held between ordinary general elections. Elections to the European Parliament are held every five years, in the early summer.

  • Government

    The Government is Sweden's supreme executive and policy-making body, headed by the Prime Minister. Its members are the ministers of state, whose policy decisions are taken collectively at weekly meetings.

  • Government bill

    Legislative or other proposal submitted to the Riksdag by the Government.

  • Government budget

    One-year plan of the Government's revenue and expenditure.

  • Government Offices

    The government ministries, the Prime Minister's Office and the Office for Administrative Affairs constituted as a single authority. The Government Offices prepare government business and otherwise assist the Government in the exercise of its duties.



  • Head of ministry

    Minister in overall charge of a ministry, e.g. the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, the Minister for Finance, etc. See also minister.

  • Head of state

    The head of state is the nation's supreme representative but has no political powers. In the case of Sweden, a monarchy, the head of state is the King or Queen.



  • Instrument of Government

    (regeringsformen, RF)
    One of the four fundamental laws in the Swedish Constitution, laying down the basic principles by which the state is governed. See also fundamental law.



  • Joint drafting procedure

    (gemensam beredning)
    When a government matter impinges on another ministry's area of responsibility or involves another minister within the same ministry, the matter is dealt with in consultation with the other ministers concerned. Also called joint preparation.





  • Office for Administrative Affairs

    Government Offices department responsible for providing administrative services to ministries, government committees, and Sweden's missions abroad.

  • Official document

    (allmän handling)
    A document is classified as public if it has been submitted to, was drawn up by or is in the keeping of a public authority. The principle of public access states that all official documents are public and, unless classified as secret, must be made available to all who wish to read them. See also principle of public access and secrecy.

  • Ordinance

    Binding regulation issued by the Government, for example the provisions governing the operations of central government authorities.

    In the EU context, a regulation is a legislative act of the European Court applicable to all member states, businesses, authorities and citizens. Regulations enter directly into legal force in member states as they are formulated, which means that they may not be transformed into other laws or provisions by the member states.



  • Permanent Secretary

    Head of the Office for Administrative Affairs, with overall responsibility for administrative matters in the Government Offices involving several ministries or committees whose terms of reference embrace more than one policy area.

  • Political Adviser

    (politisk sakkunnig)
    Political appointee; a member of a minister's personal staff.

  • Press Secretary

    Political appointee; a member of the minister's personal staff, mainly responsible for press relations.

  • Price base amount

    The price base amount or "base amount" as it was previously termed, is dependent on the consumer price index, CPI. The price base amount is used inter alia to ensure that pensions, sickness benefit, student grants and other allowances do not decline in value if prices of goods and services increase. The amount is set by the Government a year at a time.

  • Prime Minister

    The Prime Minister appoints the other ministers in his or her cabinet and directs the work of the Government.

  • Prime Minister's Office

    Department within the Government Offices, headed by the Prime Minister; responsible for coordinating the work of the Government Offices.

  • Principle of public access to official documents

    Principle underlying the legislative provisions entitling all citizens to acquaint themselves with the contents of official documents.

  • Proposal referred for consideration

    Process involving the referral of a legislative or other proposal to selected bodies for consideration and comment. These may be public authorities, local government authorities, NGOs, advocacy groups or voluntary associations.

  • Proposal referred to the Council on Legislation for consideration

    Legislative proposal referred for consideration and comment to the Council on Legislation by the Government or a parliamentary committee.



  • Registration

    Incoming documents are registered, assigned to a file and given a file number. Many documents drawn up within the Government Offices are also registered. See also official document.

  • Riksdag

    Sweden's legislative assembly and supreme decision-making body. The Riksdag is elected by and represents the people of Sweden. See also general election.



  • Secrecy

    The only grounds on which exceptions can be made to the fundamental principles of public access to official documents and freedom of expression. Secrecy is invoked in cases involving sensitive information concerning Sweden's relations to other countries or the security of the realm, or confidential information about individual citizens whose disclosure would constitute a breach of personal privacy.

  • Senior Adviser

    Senior public official, equal in rank to a director, normally an expert in his/her field.

  • Senior registry clerk

    Each ministry has its own records office, an archive where all official documents relating to matters dealt with by a ministry are registered and filed. The records office is headed by the senior registry clerk. See also registration.

  • SFS

    See Swedish Code of Statutes

  • SOU

    See Swedish Government Official Reports

  • Spring Fiscal Policy Bill

    A bill containing the Government's proposed economic policy guidelines for the coming period. Brought before the Riksdag in the early stages of the budget process (not later than 15 April), the bill includes a budget statement, proposed expenditure ceilings and preliminary expenditure allocations for the coming budget year. (Sometimes translated as Spring Budget Bill.)

  • Statement of government policy

    Statement setting out the Government's policy objectives; delivered by the Prime Minister at the opening of the Riksdag.

  • State Secretary

    Political appointee in the Government Offices immediately responsible to the Head of the Ministry or other minister for the work of the ministry; duties include planning and coordination.

  • State Secretary for Foreign Affairs

    Senior government official at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs; equal in rank to a State Secretary.

  • Swedish Code of Statutes

    (Svensk författningssamling, SFS)
    Official publication of laws enacted by the Riksdag and ordinances issued by the Government.

  • Swedish Government Official Reports

    (Statens offentliga utredningar, SOU)
    Official publication series containing the reports of government commissions of inquiry.



  • Weekly drafting meeting

    Session during which a minister is briefed on a matter before it is raised at a cabinet meeting.

  • Written communication from the Government

    Form in which the Government notifies the Riksdag of its deliberations and decisions.