Strengthened consultation procedures and EU thematic consultation forums
Strengthening the Government’s consultation procedures is an important part of increasing participation in decisions taken at EU level. Here, clear and well-functioning forms are required for civil society to conduct a dialogue with the Government on issues decided at EU level. In the first half of 2017, the first EU thematic consultation forums were held.
The inquiry on participation in the EU (The EU in Sweden, Swedish Government Official Reports 2016:10) shows that many Swedes find it harder to influence decisions taken at EU level than decisions taken at national, regional or local level.
It is the Government’s ambition to strengthen participation, knowledge and engagement in Sweden concerning EU issues. Clear and well-functioning procedures are required for civil society and other actors to conduct a dialogue with the Government on issues decided at EU level. From an EU perspective, it is particularly important that this dialogue take place early in the process.
Thematic consultation forums are a new working method that the Government Offices can use to tap into the expertise of civil society and other stakeholders in society on a specific issue. When these thematic consultation forums cover issues decided at EU level, they are called EU thematic consultation forums.
Inviting relevant actors to a dialogue at an early stage in the legislative process allows the Government to broaden and deepen the basis for its decision-making. Thematic consultation forums supplement other consultation procedures and help to provide more structured feedback and increased transparency in the process.
As another part of the efforts to strengthen the Government’s consultation procedures, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven invites representatives of the social partners to an EU consultation twice a year. These meetings are a forum for dialogue on current issues on the EU agenda.