Rotation of chairs: the Swedish Presidency taking over the Council of the EU
Starting January, Sweden holds the Council Presidency for the third time since their accession to the EU. Taking over from the Czech Republic, they will be the last link in the “Trio-presidency” of France-Czech Republic-Sweden. Like any other president, they will have to be neutral but will be in a position to set certain priorities. The Swedes will chair around 2,000 EU meetings in the coming months.
The Swedish government consists of two centre-right parties; the Christian Democrats (Kristdemokraterna) and Liberals (Liberalerna) supported by the right-wing “Sweden Democrats” (Sverigedemokraterna). The latter is not in government but offers support from parliament in exchange for influence.
Swedish ambitions have been heavily influenced by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its geopolitical and economic consequences. The presidency's overarching priorities focus on security, resilience and prosperity. The Swedish presidency has a particular focus on the competitiveness of European companies. They see the digital transition as a great opportunity for companies to strengthen their competitiveness.
Some complex dossiers that are of importance for the financial sector still await the Swedish team. For instance, the Swedish presidency will have to make special efforts to find an agreement between the Council and the European Parliament regarding the Banking Package and legislation on Artificial Intelligence. Two files in which tensions sometimes run high at the European level. In addition, Sweden mentioned that it will also focus on some specific dossiers: the Energy Taxation Directive, VAT for the Digital Age, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and legislation on the European Single Access Point (ESAP). The presidency will also work on fighting fraud and combating tax crimes.
Finally, the Swedish presidency will also face the publication of some new legislative files, on which they will have to start work in the Council. And they are not the least of these, with the most important files being the improvement of the Retail Investment Framework, the revision of PSD2 (the current payments directive) and new legislation on open finance.