The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is the largest of the Government Offices ministries. The Ministry and Sweden’s foreign representation, which includes more than 100 missions abroad – embassies, representations, delegations and consulates – together make up the Swedish Foreign Service.
The Ministry’s day-to-day work is conducted by a number of directorates-general and departments. The departments process and prepare business prior to government decisions. Other tasks include representing Sweden in international negotiations and promote Swedish foreign policy and economic interests.
The entire Swedish Foreign Service has approximately 2 700 employees, of whom approximately 800 work at the Ministry in Stockholm. More than 500 ministry officials posted from Stockholm work together with 1 400 locally employed staff at the missions abroad.
The political leadership
Tobias Billström is the Minister for Foreign Affairs and head of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Jan Knutsson is State Secretary for Foreign Affairs.
Johan Forssell is Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade. Diana Janse and Håkan Jevrell are state secretaries to Mr Forssell.
Together, the ministers and the state secretaries constitute the political leadership of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
The Ministry’s day-to-day work is conducted by a number of departments. Most of the departments are organised into six directorates-general. Each directorate-general is headed by a senior official. The departments process and prepare business prior to government decisions.
The Ministry’s departments assist the political leadership in compiling and analysing information for policy positions. This is done by preparing and presenting background material for government decisions, government bills, replies to interpellations and questions in the Riksdag. The departments also represent Sweden in international negotiations, promote Swedish foreign policy and economic interests, and manage contacts with the government agencies under the Ministry.
Leadership of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs
The ministers, the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs and the other state secretaries make up the political leadership of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. In addition to the political leadership, there are also non-political senior officials.
The work under the ministers is led by a state secretary for foreign affairs and two other state secretaries. Together, the ministers, the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs and the other state secretaries make up the political leadership of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
The Ministers Office at the Ministry consists of the political leadership, political advisers, press secretaries, officials and administrative assistants. The task of the Ministers Office is to assist the ministers, in part by acting as a link between the political leadership and the rest of the Ministry’s organisation.
In addition to the political leadership, there are several non-political senior officials who are heads of directorate-general and lead the Ministry’s work: a Director-General for Administrative Affairs, a Director-General for Legal Affairs and four directors-general for policy areas. In formal terms, the state secretaries are also senior officials, although they are political appointees.
The four directors-general for policy areas work together to shape and conduct a coordinated and cohesive Swedish foreign policy. Each of them leads one of the following four directorates-general:
- the Directorate-General for Euro-Atlantic Affairs and Security Policy;
- the Directorate-General for Global Affairs;
- the Directorate-General for Trade Policy and Promotion; and
- the Directorate-General for International Development.
The Director-General for Administrative Affairs is responsible for the administrative management of the Swedish Foreign Service and also leads the Directorate-General for Operational Support.
The Director-General for Legal Affairs leads the Directorate-General for Legal Affairs and monitors major international law cases and is the Government’s representative before the European Court of Human Rights. The Director-General for Legal Affairs also monitors the legality, consistency and uniformity of ministry and foreign representation activities.
Sweden has diplomatic relations with almost all states in the world. It has embassies and consulates in around half of these. Sweden’s foreign representation consists of some 100 missions abroad (embassies, delegations, representations and consulates-general), the Swedish Dialogue Institute for the Middle East and North Africa and around 320 honorary consulates. Together, the foreign representation and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs make up the Swedish Foreign Service.