Initiatives to strengthen knowledge

Strengthening knowledge about how the EU operates is an important part of the Government’s efforts to increase opportunities for access and participation in issues decided at EU level. This is why teachers, school leaders, elected representatives and employees in municipalities and regions are being offered various courses with the aim of increasing knowledge about the EU. The efforts in the EU handshake also help improve knowledge about the European Union.

Winners of EU minute
Winners of #EUminuten, "the EU minute" with minister for EU Affairs and Trade Ann Linde. Photo: Erik Norbergh, Government Offieces

The Government’s long-term objective is that citizens’ possibilities to access and participate in decisions taken at EU level should be as good as at municipal, regional and national level. To achieve this long-term objective, knowledge of how the EU operates needs to improve in society. The Government has therefore initiated activities aimed at increasing knowledge about the EU among various groups.

Schools are a central target group for these efforts. Teachers and school leaders are being offered training on European cooperation within the framework of the EU School Ambassador programme. The Swedish Council for Higher Education has been tasked by the Government to conduct this training together with the European Commission and the European Parliament. To reach more school pupils in Sweden, the Government intends to make this training available to more teachers and school leaders. School pupils can also participate in a film competition ahead of Europe Day (#euminuten). Measures will also be taken to enable school elections for upper-secondary school pupils and secondary school pupils in connection with the 2019 European Parliament elections.

Another important target group is elected representatives and those employed in municipalities and regions. Resources have been allocated to the Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies, where a special training initiative has been started for elected representatives and employees at local and regional level. Furthermore, government agencies are being offered seminars on their role in the EU.

The EU in Sweden (Swedish Government Official Reports 2016:10) report outlines a need for measures aimed at the media on how and where EU-related political decisions are taken. The Government intends to investigate further how such an initiative can be designed.

Young people who are interested in a traineeship or employment at the EU institutions are also an important target group for further information campaigns. A large proportion of Swedes who are employed at the institutions will retire over the next few years, and therefore there is a need to reinforce recruitment of Swedish citizens.

In addition, many actors with which the Government has entered into an EU handshake conduct various types of EU training programmes. This training also helps improve knowledge of how the EU operates.