Statement of Government EU Policy

Source: Government of Sweden

Mr Speaker, 

We are living in times of discord. War is raging in the Middle East, causing enormous human suffering. The EU is united on many aspects. We condemn Hamas’s heinous terrorist attacks of 7 October in which at least 1 200 people were killed and more than 220 were kidnapped. Not since the Holocaust have so many Jews been murdered on a single day. 

Sweden and the EU support Israel and its clear right to defend itself in accordance with international law. At the same time, the EU emphasises that humanitarian access to Gaza – with essential supplies such as water, food and medicine – is absolutely necessary. Sweden’s humanitarian assistance must be allowed to help the civilian population of Gaza. Civilian lives must be protected as far as possible. 

In Sweden and in Europe, people may have differing views on the conflict in the Middle East. That is part of our democracy. But it is entirely unacceptable when actions and demonstrations against the war there develop into hate and threats against Jews here. The Swedish Government unequivocally supports our Jewish minority. 

The Europe that once swore that Jews would never again need to fear for their safety is once again unsafe for Jewish families. This is a disgrace. Or to quote French President Emmanuel Macron: We must put antisemitism back where it belongs: in court and behind bars. No tolerance for the intolerable. 


Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine is the European tragedy of our time. And yet there are voices that question whether freedom is worth defending. As though appeasing dictatorship would be in the interests of democracy. If Ukraine loses, Europe loses, and then Sweden loses. 

The war in Ukraine demonstrates the EU’s significance to security policy. The EU Military Assistance Mission has already trained 30 000 Ukrainian soldiers. Under the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU, we agreed to provide Ukraine with one million artillery shells. 

EU membership is Ukraine’s goal. The Swedish Government shares that goal, and pursued the matter during the Swedish Presidency.


Mr Speaker,

It is no longer a question of whether the EU should grow, but when and how. Spreading stability, democracy and respect for the rule of law is in our common interest.

But EU membership is not handed out willy-nilly: it is based on merit, and progress on domestic reforms. The EU has requirements and conditions that must be met. There are no shortcuts. And the rule of law must be defended and apply to new and old members alike.

At the same time, the EU must be ready to admit new members when they are ready. And the EU needs to be reformed to continue to function effectively with more Member States. This applies in particular to agricultural policy and cohesion policy. The EU’s budget and decision-making procedures will also need to be reviewed.


Seventy per cent of the criminal networks in the EU are active in at least three countries. The Government is now conducting a historic offensive against Swedish criminal gangs. We are strengthening the judicial system and giving police necessary tools and powers. We are removing secrecy restrictions so that government agencies can fight the organised economic crime that feeds gangs.

The same kind of offensive is needed in the EU. When the EU’s heads of state and government decide next summer on the political priorities for the years to come, the fight against cross-border crime must be a priority issue.

The Government is working intensively on proposals to hone EU cooperation. More can be done to give the authorities better access to encrypted communications. More can also be done to cut off financial flows and to coordinate criminal investigations of cross-border offences.

Europol must be strengthened to be able to come down harder on organised crime, and more cooperation is needed to stop drugs being brought in via European ports.


Mr Speaker,

The EU must take control of the external border. This is important for the EU, but it is also absolutely crucial for Sweden.

The Government and the Sweden Democrats are now implementing a paradigm shift in migration policy. This has already had an effect. Migration to many EU countries is increasing dramatically, but in Sweden the number of asylum seekers has decreased by 25 per cent compared with last year.

More than 200 000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean this year alone – 52 per cent more than in the corresponding period last year. These people are grossly exploited, and this human smuggling is a significant source of income for organised crime.

Under the Swedish Presidency, the EU took a major step towards a new responsible and restrictive asylum and migration policy. This was a significant success. The aim is to reinforce the EU’s external border and introduce a fast track in the reception process to differentiate between economic migrants and refugees. This will relieve pressure on the EU and Sweden.

But returns must increase. We need more cooperation and exchange of information between all relevant authorities within the EU to enforce expulsion orders. Clearer readmission agreements with countries of origin are also needed.

Cooperation with countries of origin and transit must be dramatically expanded. This is the only way to prevent the underlying causes of migration and stop large numbers of people attempting to enter Europe via lethal routes over land and sea.


Mr Speaker,

The green transition is a core Swedish interest. Swedish businesses and industries are at the forefront of technologies that are in demand around the world – such as fossil-free steel, batteries, electric vehicles and forest-based innovations.

Sweden has already come a long way towards becoming fossil-free by phasing out oil boilers and coal power. Alongside Portugal, Sweden has the lowest per capita emissions in the entire EU. But more is needed. Climate change and environmental degradation are cross-border problems that demand cross-border solutions.

Sweden’s climate policy must be built on European foundations. The EU adopted one of the world’s most ambitious climate packages – Fit for 55 – under the Swedish Presidency. Now the EU has a common cause with common goals, and all of the Member States are taking their share of the responsibility. When 450 million Europeans make the transition, it will make a global difference.

Sustainable Swedish forestry is important for the transition not only in Sweden but throughout Europe. The Government is working together with Finland to create greater understanding of the importance of forests. Forests not only act as carbon sinks and are a prerequisite for biodiversity – they are also crucial in replacing fossil materials and reducing our emissions.

Nuclear energy also has a crucial role in fossil-free electricity production in the EU. The Government is working hard to ensure that both conventional nuclear energy and small modular reactors can be used as renewable energy on equal terms in the EU. We are working closely with other EU countries that are part of the ‘nuclear alliance’.

* * *

Mr Speaker,

Sweden and Europe need higher growth and the internal market is crucial to strengthening our economy. The EU is the very core of the internationalisation of Swedish industry.

But the EU’s share of the global economy is shrinking and its competitiveness is waning. Increasingly, new technologies are emerging from the west coast of the United States and the east coast of China.

Europe should be a continent that is involved in developing new technologies rather than mostly importing them. This applies in equal measure to complex matters such as artificial intelligence, where the EU can take the lead in constructive regulation that promotes innovation while also tackling issues such as ethical risks.

Overall EU investment in research and development as a percentage of GDP is considerably lower than that of the United States and China, but also lower than that of Japan and South Korea. It is high time that more Member States lived up to the EU target of investing at least three per cent of GDP in research and development.

At the EU Summit in June, following considerable Swedish legwork, a new growth agenda was launched.

But growth and innovation do not spring from state-managed economies, but from knowledge-based market economies with competitive businesses. These cut red tape and pave the way for lower energy prices, quicker permit processes and better access to capital and skills.

European businesses need regulations and conditions that withstand competition. At Sweden’s initiative, the decision has been made to reduce reporting requirements for businesses by 25 per cent.

Simpler and fewer rules will be a main theme for Sweden when it is time to decide on the direction for Europe’s competitiveness. EU legislation must take greater account of the conditions for businesses.

Free competition in the internal market and free trade with countries outside the EU have made Europe’s economy strong. But free trade agreements are also important for geopolitical reasons.

If the EU is not present in the world’s growth regions, others will be. The EU’s strength has long been its openness to the world. But that openness must be consistent with our interests, values and security considerations.


Mr Speaker,

In my first Statement of Government Policy, I said that Sweden would be an active, engaged and proactive member of the EU – before, during and now after our Presidency. EU affairs are not a luxury, to be considered by the Government when time allows.

EU policy is Swedish domestic policy. Many Swedish national interests can only be safeguarded through the EU.

But Sweden is often worse than other countries at identifying and formulating its national interests. Sometimes we lack the desire to take a clear stance. Sometimes we have not sought out likeminded partners. Sometimes we have simply engaged with issues at too late a stage.

We are now changing this. The Government will institute new forms of consultation and cooperation with the business sector, the social partners and other important stakeholders who represent strategic Swedish interests. This is good for Sweden and for the EU.

* * *

Mr Speaker,

I have outlined the Government’s view of the problems and opportunities facing the EU in these turbulent times. The EU is our main forum for international cooperation, and an important platform for a small, internationally oriented country such as ours.

Let us now use that platform. To combat crime and reduce immigration by securing Europe’s external borders. To succeed in the climate transition. To safeguard our Swedish export companies.

But also to protect the fundamental values of freedom, peace, democracy and the rule of law that we believe in. Sweden’s history is intimately intertwined with Europe’s – but so too is Sweden’s future.

Meeting with the Palestinian Prime Minister

Source: Government of Italy (English)

25 Maggio 2024

The President of the Council of Ministers, Giorgia Meloni, received the Palestinian Prime Minister, Mohammed Mustafa, at Palazzo Chigi today.
President Meloni reiterated Italy’s support for all ongoing efforts towards a sustainable ceasefire, the release of all hostages in the hands of Hamas and a step change in the provision of humanitarian aid to the population in Gaza. With regard to this latter point, President Meloni underlined Italy’s strong commitment to Gaza’s civilian population, including by providing additional funding for the ‘Food for Gaza’ initiative.
During the meeting, President Meloni reaffirmed the need to restart a political process leading to a lasting peace based on the two-State solution.

Message of the Holy Father Francis, signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, on the occasion of the 64th International Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes (24-26 May 2024)

Source: The Holy See

The following is the Message sent on behalf of the Holy Father Francis by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin to the participants in the 64th International Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes, presided over by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States and International Organizations:

To the participantsin the International Military PilgrimageLOURDES
On the occasion of the 64th International Military Pilgrimage, His Holiness Pope Francis is in spiritual communion with all of you, who come from different backgrounds. He gives thanks to God for this annual meeting at the blessed Grotto of Massabielle, which enables you to forge bonds of friendship, to share the human and spiritual riches that each of you brings, to share moments of joy, and to find in common prayer and exchange the strength needed to overcome the trials, anxieties and loneliness that you often experience in the course of your various commitments.
May you strengthen your conviction that love is stronger than hatred and division, and that you too are called to play an irreplaceable role for the common good and the service of peace in the world.
Your pilgrimage is the conclusion of a triptych proposed by Saint Bernadette. On 2 March 1858, the Virgin Mary entrusted her with the following mission: “Go and tell the priests that a chapel should be built here and that people should come here in procession”. That people should come in procession: it was an urgent call to set out on a journey. First and foremost, to God, but also to our brothers and sisters, to build a more united and fraternal world.
The pilgrimage is an opportunity for everyone to renew their baptismal commitment, to encounter Christ, in particular by listening to His word, receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation and taking part in the Eucharist. This spiritual pause at Lourdes is a time to rethink your military vocation from the perspective of faith, and of the love that every Christian must cultivate towards his brother, even his enemy.
The pilgrimage is also a faith experience that helps us discover the beauty of walking together, supporting each other and reaching out to others. It allows you to be close to your sick and wounded comrades-in-arms and to care for them – especially in this place where the sick are so present – and to bring God’s Mercy to the military world. May this take the form of genuine, simple and humane gestures that reveal the tender face of our God. May you live this out not only at Lourdes, but wherever you are sent, bearing witness to the Gospel among your fellow soldiers.
Dear soldiers, the Pope invites you to stand up and walk with courage and perseverance. Be military men and women who stand tall and proud to honour your uniform, your motto and your homeland, but who are also aware that you are part of a single human family, a family that is divided and wounded, but which Christ came to redeem and save through the power of love, not the violence of arms. Be “sentinels of peace”, as Saint John Paul II said (cf. Angelus, 23 February 2003). The world needs you, especially at this dark moment in our history. We need men and women of faith who are capable of putting weapons at the service of peace and brotherhood.
The Holy Father Francis entrusts to God’s mercy all the servicemen and women who have lost their lives in the service of their country or in international operations to defend peace. He invokes a particular abundance of graces on all those present at Lourdes and their families, as well as on the soldiers engaged on various fronts, on mission to preserve peace far from their country and those who are wounded and suffering. He imparted to all a paternal Apostolic Blessing.
Cardinal Pietro ParolinSecretary of State of His Holiness

Answer to a written question – Doganaccia-Corno alle Scale cable car – E-000967/2024(ASW)

Source: European Parliament

1. According to Article 6(1) of the Habitats Directive[1], for Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), Member States shall establish the necessary conservation measures involving, if need be, appropriate management plans. Conservation measures should not necessarily consist of management plans.

Italy has adopted national guidelines, methodology and formats[2] to implement the above-mentioned provisions and is currently revising the existing conservation objectives and measures for its SACs in order to ensure full compliance with the directive’s requirements. The Commission follows this progress in the context of the infringement procedure n. (2015)2163[3].

2. The presence of bird species listed in Annex I to the Birds Directive[4] is not a sufficient condition for the classification of an area as a Special Protection Area under the Birds Directive: according to Article 4 of the directive, Member States must identify and designate ‘the most suitable territories in number and size for the conservation of these species’. The Commission follows, in the context of infringement procedure n. (2021)2028[5], Italy’s progress in completing the Natura 2000 network and in designating sites for the species and habitats for which insufficiencies of designation have been identified. However, this does not concern either the site in question or the bird species present there.

  • [1] Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, OJ L 206 22.7.1992, p. 7.
  • [2]
  • [3]
  • [4] Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the conservation of wild birds, OJ L 20, 26.1.2010, p. 7-25.
  • [5]
Last updated: 24 May 2024

Answer to a written question – Energy-from-waste plants in Sicily – E-000879/2024(ASW)

Source: European Parliament

1. W aste-to-energy plants meeting the capacity criteria for incineration and co-incineration plants in Annex I of the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED)[1] are covered by Chapter II of the IED and have to be operated in accordance with a permit based on Best Available Techniques (BAT)[2]. Emissions cannot exceed certain emission limit values and technical rules have to be complied with.

2. According to the Waste Framework Directive (WFD)[3] it shall be a condition of any permit covering incineration or co-incineration with energy recovery that the recovery of energy takes place with a ‘high level of energy efficiency’. The R1 regime under the WFD sets out the energy efficiency criteria which municipal waste incinerators and co-incinerators have to fulfil in order to qualify as a recovery operation (‘R1: Use principally as a fuel or other means to generate energy’). This regime differentiates those facilities from disposal operations listed in Annex I WFD and ranks them higher in the waste hierarchy[4].

3. Mechanical biological treatment is defined as ‘Treatment of mixed solid waste combining mechanical treatment with biological treatment such as aerobic or anaerobic treatment’[5] and can be either an interim recovery or an interim disposal operation depending on whether the subsequent operation is a recovery or a disposal operation as per Annexes I and II to the WFD.

  • [1] Directive 2010/75/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 on industrial emissions (integrated pollution prevention and control), OJ L 334, 17.12.2010, p. 17-119.
  • [2] As described in BAT conclusions (
  • [3] Article 23 of Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on waste and repealing certain Directives, OJ L 312, 22.11.2008, p. 3-30, as amended by Directive (EU) 2018/851 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May, OJ L 150, 14.6.2018, p. 109-140.
  • [4] Article 4 of Directive 2008/98/EC.
  • [5] Commission implementing decision EU) 2018/1147 of 10 August 2018 establishing best available techniques (BAT) conclusions for waste treatment, under Directive 2010/75/EU,
Last updated: 24 May 2024

Answer to a written question – Regulatory fitness check of Regulation (EC) No 1007/2009 on trade in seal products – E-001058/2024(ASW)

Source: European Parliament

Regulation (EC) No 1007/2009 on Trade in Seal Products[1] has been in place since 2009. In its 2023 report on the implementation of the regulation[2], the Commission concluded that the regulation seemed to work well in preventing the placing on the EU market of seal products not covered by the ‘Inuit or other indigenous communities’ exception.

At the same time, the report acknowledges that several Member States bordering the Baltic Sea have reported repeatedly that the regulation has had a negative socioeconomic impact on their territory, in particular since the removal of the sustainable marine resource management exception.

In addition, the recognised bodies in Canada considered that the regulation had a detrimental impact on the economic development of their Inuit/Inuvialuit communities.

The Commission, therefore, announced that it would launch, in 2024, an evaluation of the regulation and of the Seal Pups Directive[3] to assess their effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, coherence and EU added value, as well as their socioeconomic impact and their impact on the seal populations within and outside the EU.

On the basis of the evaluation findings, the Commission will consider possible ways forward, taking into account animal welfare considerations and bearing in mind the need to ensure compatibility with World Trade Organisation rules.

  • [1] Regulation (EC) No 1007/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 on trade in seal products, OJ L 286, 31.10.2009, p. 36-39.
  • [2] Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 1007/2009, as amended by Regulation (EU) 2015/1775, on Trade in Seal Products, COM/2023/633 final.
  • [3] Council Directive 83/129/EEC of 28 March 1983 concerning the importation into Member States of skins of certain seal pups and products derived therefrom, OJ L 91, 9.4.1983, p. 30-3.
Last updated: 24 May 2024

Answer to a written question – Gas extraction under the Wadden Sea – E-000719/2024(ASW)

Source: European Parliament

The choice of authorising or not gas extraction falls within the remit of the national authorities which must fully respect EU law and carry out, where necessary, the assessment of the effects of the project on the environment (under e.g. the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive[1]) and on protected sites and species (under the Habitats[2] and Birds Directives[3]).

These environmental assessments also inform the procedures prescribed by the Hydrocarbons[4] Directive for granting the authorisation to extract gas, notably where the authorities must examine the way in which the applicant proposes to prospect, explore and/or bring into production the gas field.

Throughout the process, the Member State must also ensure compliance with the applicable EU rules on access to justice, access to environmental information, and public participation in environmental decision-making[5].

Without prejudice to the Commission’s role as guardian of the Treaties, Member States are primarily responsible to ensure compliance with EU law.

In case any interested party identifies a potential breach of EU law, national remedies, including before national courts, are available. In parallel, the Commission prioritises its enforcement efforts on cases pointing to a systemic breach of EU law[6].

  • [1] Directive 2011/92/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment.
  • [2] Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7-50.
  • [3] Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the conservation of wild birds, OJ L 20, 26.1.2010, p. 7-25.
  • [4] Directive 94/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 1994 on the conditions for granting and using authorisations for the prospection, exploration and production of hydrocarbons, OJ L 164, 30.6.1994, p-3-8.
  • [5] Convention on access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, done at Aarhus, Denmark, on 25 June 1998 (Aarhus Convention).
  • [6] As set out in the communication of 19 January 2017 (EU law: Better results through better application — C/2016/8600, OJ C 18, 19.1.2017, p. 10-20) and in the communication of 13 October 2022 COM(2022) 518 final — Enforcing EU law for a Europe that delivers.
Last updated: 24 May 2024

Answer to a written question – Heat recovery from waste – P-001158/2024(ASW)

Source: European Parliament

The communication ‘Towards an ambitious Industrial Carbon Management for the EU’[1] recalls that the 2026 review of the EU emissions trading system (ETS)[2] will assess the feasibility of including municipal waste incineration installations and other waste management processes in the EU ETS, taking into account relevant criteria such as environmental integrity and alignment with the objectives of the circular economy and the Waste Framework Directive[3].

Article 4 of this directive states that the waste hierarchy order should be followed: (1) prevention, (2) preparing for re-use, (3) recycling, (4) other recovery and (5) disposal.

In addition, under the provisional agreement on the carbon removals certification framework[4], the biogenic emissions from waste to energy plants could benefit from the certification of carbon removals whenever the quality and sustainability criteria, as well as all the other conditions set by the regulation are met.

The Commission is planning to adopt a guidance note by July 2024 on the aspects of the Renewable Energy Directive[5] related to accounting aspects of heating and cooling, including waste heat.

Among the announced actions in the above-mentioned Communication, there is a list of actions to incentivise investments in carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) technologies, including further push of research and innovation to yield significant cost reduction and to initiate work for a possible future CO2 transport regulatory package.

  • [1]  COM(2024) 62 final.
  • [2] Directive (EU) 2023/959 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 May 2023 amending Directive 2003/87/EC establishing a system for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Union and Decision (EU) 2015/1814 concerning the establishment and operation of a market stability reserve for the Union greenhouse gas emission trading system.
  • [3] Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on waste and repealing certain Directives, OJ L 312 du 22.11.2008, p. 3-30.
  • [4]
  • [5] Directive (EU) 2018/2001.
Last updated: 24 May 2024

Answer to a written question – Investigation into a possible European-wide cartel on concealing the presence of harmful chemicals in products – E-000990/2024(ASW)

Source: European Parliament

The Commission follows the investigation by the French Competition Authority.

In 2022, the Commission fined metal packaging producers Crown and Silgan a total of EUR 31.5 million for participating in a cartel concerning sales of metal cans and closures in Germany that took place in the context of the introduction of Bisphenol A-free (BPA-free) lacquers for such products.

The infringement included the coordination between Crown and Silgan to: (i) impose a surcharge, and (ii) apply shorter minimum durability recommendations concerning metal cans and closures coated with BPA-free lacquers.

The parties kept each other informed of their commercial strategies, allowing them to adapt their market behaviour and competitive efforts on the market for metal cans and closures coated with BPA-free lacquers in Germany.

At the moment, the Commission does not have any pending formal proceedings on competition law grounds in relation to similar conduct being implemented for other products and chemical substances. The Commission is monitoring any market developments closely.

Last updated: 24 May 2024

Answer to a written question – Reduction in EU GDP by about 7 % by the end of the century – E-001053/2024(ASW)

Source: European Parliament

The estimate that worsening climate impacts could reduce EU gross domestic product by about 7% by the end of the century comes from the impact assessment accompanying the Commission Communication on ‘Securing our Future: Europe’s 2040 Climate Target and Path to Climate Neutrality by 2050[1]’.

Annex 7 of the impact assessment[2] provides a comprehensive review of the costs of climate change at global and EU level. Section 3.3.3 of Annex 7 explains how the NEMESIS macro-econometric model was used to estimate the 7% impact, building on bottom-up assessments of the impacts of a range of climate hazards, as available in the literature.

This estimate is conservative in that it accounts for nine types of hazards or sectors affected but excludes the impacts of climate change on ecosystem services (including access to water), tourism and human health and mortality.

Further, it relies on a linear extrapolation of modelling results between 2060 and 2100 and does not take into consideration possible climate tipping points.

For a comparison to other estimates published elsewhere since the impact assessment: Kotz et al (2024)[3] project that the world economy is already committed to an income reduction of 19% until 2050 due to climate change, with median income reductions of approximately 11% in Europe.

If emissions are not cut drastically and immediately, economic losses will amount to up to 60% on average globally and over 35% in Europe by 2100.

As in the case of the communications on Managing Climate Risks and on Securing our Future[4], the Commission will continue to ensure that its policies are science-based, data-driven and properly assessed for their impact, including via the use of state-of-the-art models and impact assessment work.

  • [1] COM(2024)63.
  • [2]
  • [3]
  • [4] COM(2024) 91.
Last updated: 24 May 2024