The EU: Economic and financial affairs

Work on economic policy, budget issues, taxation, financial markets and other related issues takes place in the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (the Ecofin Council). To address the economic problems in the EU, reforms – including structural reforms – are necessary to ensure increased employment and improved competitiveness.

More about the Ecofin Council on the European Union website

Budgets must meet the stability and growth pact criteria

Europe's problems are essentially long-term and structural. Therefore, policy in all Member States, regardless of their financial position, should be directed towards implementing structural reforms for increased employment and improved competitiveness.

The Government considers it important that the rules in the Stability and Growth Pact are respected. There is acertain flexibility in the framework, but clear parameters for how this flexibility is to be applied are important, and that these parameters have been made clear and have been documented. This is very significant for safeguarding the credibility of the Stability and Growth Pact. Work to reduce the complexity of the framework is also a priority issue.

More about the stability pact on the European Commission website

The economic situation in the euro area

It is essential for Sweden that the euro area works efficiently and is stable, which is why it is very important to actively monitor developments. The Government's objective is to help all Member States take their responsibility and take necessary measures to ensure national public finance stability and sustainability, with the aim of increasing confidence and reducing instability in the market. Everyone bears a responsibility for our shared development.

Deepening of the EMU

Work to deepen the EMU was intensified in 2015. Several concrete proposals have been presented which include the aim to increase competitiveness, finalise the banking union, achieve and maintain a responsible fiscal policy and strengthen democratic aspects of the cooperation.

Sweden has a strong interest in a well-functioning EMU. The Government therefore takes a positive view of the fact that various ways of improving the monetary union's functionality are being investigated. For the Government, it is also important, at the same time, to safeguard cohesion among all Member States and to keep many courses of action open to take part in cooperation where our interests and those of euro countries coincide.

The financial union

The Government intends to push to ensure that all future proposals, including in the Capital Markets Union, meet requirements for transparency, financial stability and will maintain or reinforce strong and appropriate investor and consumer protection.

Fort the moment Sweden does not have the intention of taking part in the banking union, but is an active party in the negotiations with the objective that in the event of possible future participation, the banking union will be as good as possible and entail equal treatment of those countries that do not use the euro.

EU cooperation in the area of taxation

The objective of EU cooperation in the area of taxation is, among other things, to safeguard the existence and functioning of the internal market and to avoid distortion of competition.

There are only a handful of EU legal acts that regulate cooperation in the business taxation area. Personal taxation is not subject to cooperation in the EU. However, there are common rules in the EU concerning value-added tax and specific taxes on energy, alcohol and tobacco for instance. There are also several EU legal acts regulating administrative cooperation in the taxation area. This cooperation covers both value-added tax and specific taxes as well as private individuals' income tax and automatic exchange of information about financial accounts and capital incomes.

Tax evasion, tax avoidance, tax fraud and harmful tax competition

Work to reduce tax evasion, tax avoidance, tax fraud and harmful tax competition is important to the Government, as are an effective single market and safeguarding the authority of Member States in the tax area. Administrative burdens and costs should be as low as possible.

Fighting terrorism financing

In light of terrorist attacks carried out recently and the growth of the terrorist group Daesh, the issue of fighting terrorism financing is important. The Government gives priority to this work and intends to push for appropriate measures to be taken to combat the exploitation of the financial system for the financing of terrorism.