On Sunday, Sweden on Sunday took over from the Czech Republic at the helm of the six-month rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU). Sweden will hold the presidency for six months until June 30, 2023.
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On Dec. 14, 2022, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson presented priorities of the Swedish presidency -- security, resilience, prosperity, democratic values and the rule of law.
Kristersson told his country's Parliament that "Sweden is taking over the Presidency at a time when the European Union is facing unprecedented challenges. A greener, more secure and freer Europe is the foundation of our priorities."
In the field of security, the Swedish presidency will prioritize "continued economic and military support for Ukraine, as well as support for Ukraine's path towards the EU. The fight against cross-border organized crime will continue, responding to citizens' legitimate demands for safe and secure communities," according to the government's website.
In the field of competitiveness, "the EU must continue to provide the best possible conditions for a sound and open economy based on free competition, private investment and successful digitization," it said, adding that the Swedish presidency would seek to anchor a concerted approach to European competitiveness "at the top of the political agenda."
In the field of green and energy transition, it said that the Swedish presidency would continue efforts to tackle high and volatile energy prices while addressing long-term energy market reform. The government also stressed the need to provide the right regulatory framework and policies to attract investments required for the transition to "a resource-efficient, fossil-free future."
And in the field of democratic values and the rule of law, the Swedish presidency emphasized the importance to uphold "the principle of the rule of law and fundamental rights."
Kristersson is scheduled to meet with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in the northern Swedish city of Kiruna on Jan. 13, when they would hold talks on relevant work plans during the Swedish presidency and issues that need to be resolved in the near future.
Sweden joined the EU on Jan. 1, 1995, and the country held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union twice before, respectively in 2001 and 2009.