Under the Open Coordination Method, the EU Member States have been working together since 2000 on issues relating to fighting poverty and social exclusion, working for sustainable and reasonable retirement pensions and sustainable and accessible health care and long-term care.
In 2003, the Commission presented a proposal aimed at streamlining cooperation in the social area. The proposal means that the three strands referred to above are merged, while the specific aspects of each strand have to be developed further. Under the new proposal, a joint strategy report is to be drawn up in the social area instead of different reports, as was done previously. The present report provides an opportunity to take an overall view and look at the whole of social policy together.
Sweden presented its strategy report for social protection and social inclusion on 14 September 2006. Later that month, general elections were held in Sweden. The election led to a change of government in the country and the four parties of the "Alliance for Sweden" formed a government. It is against this background that the new government has chosen to update the strategy report for social protection and social inclusion.
The national strategy reports for social protection and social inclusion will cover a three-year period, This does not, however, apply to this first report, which only relates to a two-year period, with the aim of fitting into the new Lisbon timetable. Sweden last year presented a national action plan for growth and employment for the period 2005-2008; this report, too, has been updated due to the change of government in Sweden.