Europe wins from Swedish leadership

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Eight out of ten and better than expected, was the rating from EU experts that Ekot spoke to earlier this week. Not least, Sweden has succeeded in holding Europe together in its support for Ukraine. In April, a new support package of 55 million euros was hammered out, in addition to the almost 800 million already decided. During the spring, two new sanctions packages were also agreed which, among other things, prohibit the export of critical technology, and previous sanctions have been extended. For us in Sweden, tough measures against Russia are a matter of course for many, as shown not least by the extensive popular boycotts of Marabou. But the will to put up with higher prices and poorer export opportunities for the sake of Ukraine is far from equally strong throughout Europe, and Hungary in particular grumbles when new sanctions come up. The successful negotiation to strengthen and maintain resistance to Russia is both impressive and important. But the Swedish successes do not stop there. During the six months as chairman, Sweden has also steered the EU’s major climate package with tools to achieve the goals that the EU must reduce its emissions by 55 percent in seven years compared to 1990 and that the entire Union must be climate neutral by 2050. As a result of the climate agreement, the government announced on Friday that it is now appointing an investigation to review the Swedish climate act. “The question is whether Sweden’s climate policy resonates with the European one, and it is important to analyze it,” explained the investigator, professor of economics John Hassler, at the press conference. The investigation is very welcome, Swedish climate policy must be in line with the European one. During Sweden’s presidency, the EU has also agreed on, among other things, recommendations to all member states that publicly funded research must be made available to the public directly and free of charge. The decision may seem small, but is long-term important for research and for the EU as a knowledge union. However, the most difficult nut that Sweden cracked during its presidency is the new European migration policy, the so-called Migration Pact, which everyone except Hungary and Poland agrees on. The proposal for new rules includes, among other things, reception centers where asylum seekers are to be locked up while waiting for a decision, and is neither uncontroversial nor problem-free. But it is a common step forward in a sore and conflict-filled area. It’s hard to say anything other than bravo. To Ulf Kristersson, but also to Magdalena Andersson. She too has reason to wake up happy on the first of July. A large part of the success is determined by good preparation, and it was the social democratic government that ensured that Sweden was ready for the mission. The Prime Minister himself has emphasized how well the cooperation between the previous and current governments has worked and how smooth the handover was. Everyone has made an effort to ensure that the result is as good as possible for Sweden, and for Europe. This is Swedish political leadership at its best. Now it is time to take advantage of the successes and the recent months’ reawakened EU debate in Sweden to build a better Swedish EU participation going forward. Both Swedish politics and business have a tendency to see the EU as something far away, and enter legislative processes only in the final stages when they realize that something is about to go horribly wrong. This spring, it has not least been the EU Commission’s proposal for a nature restoration law that would force Sweden to take forest equivalent to Värmland out of production and have fatal consequences for Swedish forestry and climate change. After being stalled in the European Parliament’s committee, it now looks like the proposal will fall. But it’s been a rude awakening about what’s at stake if we don’t get involved in time. This spring has shown that another Swedish EU relationship is possible. Ahead of the election next year and the upcoming term in parliament, it is important that both politics and business as well as the media maintain the newfound commitment. Sweden must continue to be an active and heavy player in the EU for a better union.

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