From January to June 2023, Sweden will assume its role in the rotating presidency of the European Council. In the coming six months, the Scandinavian country’s government will have to manage a series of complex issues with a view to maintaining internal EU cohesion in the face of the energy crisis, as well as economic difficulties within the Member States.
The Presidency of the Council is held in turn by EU Member States every six months. During each semester, it chairs meetings at all levels within the Council, helping to ensure the continuity of the EU's work.
The priorities of the Swedish Presidency, as Prime Minister Kristersson explained, will include making Europe greener; a primary objective being the acceleration of the green transition in transport and industry.
The first semester of 2023 is an important and challenging period: European institutions are negotiating several legislative dossiers, including revisions to the Renewable Energy Directive and the Energy Efficiency Directive, as well as the proposal to phase out CO2 emissions in the shipping sector and support the development of infrastructure for alternative fuels such as electricity, hydrogen and liquefied natural gas.
Sweden believes that a greener Europe is a tangible target that the European Commission is also aiming for, specifically by regulating more affordable energy prices and increasing the production of energy from renewable resources.
Regarding the agriculture sector, the scarcity of fertilisers is recognised as a challenge for upcoming crop seasons by the Swedish Presidency, and also by the Commission Communication on guaranteed access to- and reasonable prices for- fertilisers. The Presidency plans to keep track of any recommendations and activities aimed at enhancing European food production and will focus on activities relating to the function and potential of the bioeconomy as well as trade-related agricultural issues.
More information on the Swedish EU Council Presidency is available here: https://swedish-presidency.consilium.europa.eu/en/programme/programme-of-the-presidency/