The Government today submitted Sweden's national reform programme 2012 and Sweden's convergence programme 2012 to the European Commission. Both the national reform programme and the convergence programme are based on the measures announced in the Budget Bill for 2012 and the 2012 Spring Fiscal Policy Bill as well as the forecasts for economic development and the public finances presented in the 2012 Spring Fiscal Policy Bill.
Karin Enström new Minister for Defence
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has today, Wednesday 18 April, appointed Karin Enström as Minister for Defence and head of the Ministry of Defence. Karin Enström will take up her post with immediate effect. Karin Enström comes from Vaxholm and was formerly a captain in the Swedish Amphibious Corps. Most recently she has been Member of the Riksdag where she has chaired the Committee on Foreign Affairs. She has previously served on the Riksdag Committee on Defence.
Stockholm Internet Forum 2012 is the latest concrete example of the Government's policy for Internet freedom. The conference aims to deepen discussions on how freedom and openness on the Internet promote global social, economic and political development. Read more about this in the Government newsletter.
Minister for International Development Cooperation, Gunilla Carlsson speaks about how the internet is a resource for global development but that there is also a need for Internet to be protected globally. The forum will be held in Stockholm on the 18-19 of April. All sessions at the Stockholm Internet Forum will be webcast live on the conference web site.
The Swedish economy is expected to slow down markedly in 2012 in the wake of the European debt crisis. Given the risk of significantly weaker economic growth, the need remains for good safety margins in the public finances so as to continue to have the capacity to cushion the impact of a deeper crisis on jobs and welfare. Consequently, there will be limited scope for reforms in the budget for 2013. This scope should be used primarily for measures that prevent unemployment becoming persistent, strengthen the functioning of the economy, improve the financial position of vulnerable groups and strengthen welfare.
In the Spring Fiscal Policy Bill, the Government sets out the direction of its policies ahead of the concrete measures to be presented in the Budget Bill this autumn.
Innovation is about new ways of creating value for individuals, enterprises and society as a whole. The goal is for the Government to decide on an innovation strategy in early autumn 2012, expressed in a policy document aimed at 2020 to promote the climate for innovation long term.
18-19 April the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Internet Infrastructure Foundation (.SE) and Sida are organising the first ever Stockholm Internet Forum on Internet Freedom for Global Development - SIF12 - an international conference on the role of internet freedom in global development. Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt is hosting the conference.
On April 8, it is the Roma International Day. The day is celebrated in commemoration of the First International Roma Congress in London 1971, wich marked the beginning of a co-ordinated effort to promote Roma rights at an international level. Minister for Integration, Erik Ullenhag, who also has responsibility for national minorities, sends his greetings to Sweden's Roma population.
A new national research institute will be established in 2013 - Sweden Science for Life Laboratory. The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and AstraZeneca announced today that they will contribute considerable financial support to the project.
Catharina Elmsäter-Svärd temporarily takes over as Minister for Defence
At his own request, Sten Tolgfors was relieved of his duties as Minister for Defence on 29 March. Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has decided to temporarily appoint Catharina Elmsäter-Svärd as head of the Ministry of Defence, in addition to her ordinary duties as Minister for Infrastructure.