Sweden takes over EU presidency with focus on 'safer' Europe

01 Jan 2023 03:51pm
Image for illustrative purposes only - BERNAMA
Image for illustrative purposes only - BERNAMA
STOCKHOLM - Sweden takes over the presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) from the Czech Republic on Sunday, giving the Scandinavian country a key leadership and mediating role in Brussels over the next six months.

"Sweden is taking over the Presidency at a time when the Union is facing historic challenges," German Press Agency (dpa) quoted Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson as saying in mid-December.

In a statement on his website, he cites the Ukraine war, the battle against climate change and European competitiveness as key issues that need to be tackled.

Sweden's priorities are to focus on "a greener, safer, and freer Europe."

Kristersson and his cabinet are still relatively unknown faces on the EU stage.

The conservative government has only been in office for about two and a half months, replacing that of Social Democrat Magdalena Andersson.

Kristersson is the first Swedish head of government ever to work closely with the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats.

The populists are not in the government, but as the second strongest parliamentary force and with more seats than Kristersson's party, The Moderates, they still have a lot of power in Stockholm.

Despite the EU-scepticism of this supporting party, Sweden's EU Minister Jessika Roswall declared that her government "will give high priority to EU work."

The 27 members of the EU rotate the presidency every six months. - BERNAMA

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