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Abisko national park, part of the Arctic area of Sweden. Photo: Tim Rawle/Flickr (cc)

Knowledge, responsibility, engagement: the EU outlines its policy for the Arctic

The European Commission and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy have today outlined the way forward for the EU's constructive engagement in the Arctic. Summarised in three words, "knowledge, responsibility, engagement", the strategy adopted today contains a set of tangible actions that contribute to research and sustainable development in the region and promote environmentally friendly technologies that could be used for sustainable shipping and mining.

Final agreement on unitary patent protection

Agreement was reached today at the European Council on the final outstanding issue in the negotiations on unitary patent protection, i.e. where the seat of the Central Division of the Court of First Instance of the Unified Patent Court will be situated.
The solution to the issue, which has been deadlocked since December, is that the seat of the Central Division will be in Paris, while some parts of it will be located in London and Munich.

New human rights reports

Today Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt and Minister for International Development Cooperation Gunilla Carlsson will present 44 new human rights reports.

The reports concern the EU neighbourhood countries - Eastern Europe and the Balkans, Central Asia, North Africa and the Middle East. These are important countries for Sweden and the EU.

In connection with the presentation of the reports, the Government's human rights website www.manskligarattigheter.se is being relaunched. It contains all the new reports as well as reports from other countries.

Helena Jäderblom appointed judge of European Court of Human Rights

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has appointed Justice of the Supreme Administrative Court Helena Jäderblom as judge to the European Court of Human Rights. She will take up her post in autumn 2012 for a nine-year term. Ms Jäderblom succeeds Elisabet Fura, who took office as Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman on 1 June 2012.

UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Photo: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

Online freedom of expression, Belarus and Syria on UN Human Rights Council agenda

Human rights in Belarus and Syria, and an initiative on online freedom of expression presented by Sweden and others, will receive particular attention at the upcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The three-week Council meeting started on Monday 18 June and will conclude on Friday 6 July after an intensive programme of work.

The Future We Want - 12 messages of urgency and hope from Sweden's youth to Rio+20

In the spring, Minister for International Development Cooperation Gunilla Carlsson announced a competition for upper secondary school pupils to write a speech about sustainable development and global challenges for Rio+20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro.

More than 170 pupils entered the competition and the winner was Evangelina Lindberger with her speech "Dreams of a sustainable future". Evangelina is travelling to Rio de Janeiro as part of the Swedish delegation. Her speech will be distributed in a booklet along with eleven others at Rio+20 on 20-22 June.

"I am proud and overwhelmed by the knowledge and commitment of these young people. Their overall message to the participants at Rio+20 is clear: sustainable development and a better future is possible, but it demands that we start to act today," says Minister for International Development Cooperation Gunilla Carlsson.

Carl Bildt to participate in EuroDIG in Stockholm

Today Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt will participate in the Pan-European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG), which this year is being arranged in Stockholm. Mr Bildt will take part in a discussion on topics including democracy and the internet, internet freedom and the balance between freedom and security, together with Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Ehsan Norouzi of Deutsche Welle, Marietje Schaake, Member of the European Parliament, and Mats Svegfors, Director-General of Sveriges Radio.

Maurice Strong speaking at Stockholm+40. Photo: Martina Huber/Government

Ahead of Rio+20: Stockholm +40 conference report presented

The UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) will take place in Rio de Janeiro next week. In the lead up to Rio+20, the conference report from Stockholm+40 - Partnership Forum for Sustainable Development Stockholm, held on 23-25 April 2012, has now been presented. The conference report summarises the conference's important messages and you can also read about the various sessions and a number of interviews with some of the conference participants.

Gunilla Carlsson meets Burmese parliamentarians

On the invitation of Sida, 17 Burmese parliamentarians are visiting Sweden on 6-14 June and are today meeting Minister for International Development Cooperation Gunilla Carlsson. The purpose of the visit is to give the parliamentarians an opportunity to learn more about Swedish society.

Carl Bildt and Hillary Rodham Clintom met for talks on Sunday morning. Photo: Martina Huber/The Government Offices

Fredrik Reinfeldt and Carl Bildt receive US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

On Sunday 3 June Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt received US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in Stockholm for discussions. Among the topics discussed were the economic situation in the EU and current foreign policy issues. Particular focus was on the difficult situation in Syria, developments in the European vicinity, as well as internet freedom issues.