Sweden in the world
International and EU-related work has increased with globalisation and Sweden's membership of the EU. All of the ministries undertake EU-related work, prepare Swedish positions and monitor matters and cases in the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Sweden and the EU
Sweden has been a member of the European Union since 1 January 1995 following a national referendum in 1994. Membership means that Sweden takes part in the EU's work and has the possibility to influence the decisions taken there.
For the time being, Sweden remains outside the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), the members of which have the euro as a common currency. A referendum was held in September 2003 on whether Sweden should join the single currency. The result was that 55.9 per cent of voters said no.
Around 1200 Swedes work in the EU. Some of them represent Sweden and Swedish interests, while others are part of the EU administration, working for example at the European Commission or similar institutions.
Sweden and the United Nations
Sweden became a member of the United Nations in 1946, the year after the organisation was formed. Since then, active involvement in the UN has been an important element of Swedish foreign policy.
Sweden's Government, with broad support in the Riksdag, views cooperation within the UN as the most important instrument for dealing with the major global lifeanddeath issues. This requires a strong UN and close cooperation with local organisations, individual countries and civil society in all parts of the world.
Since the 1960s, Sweden has taken part in most UN peacekeeping operations. Over 70 000 Swedes have served in UN operations over the years and several Swedes have worked as UN mediators.
Sweden works within a broad spectrum of UN areas of activity and has been a driving force behind significant initiatives. The abolition of the death penalty, children's rights, the abolition of apartheid, the Convention against Torture, disarmament, the environment and the fight against drugs are examples of issues in which Sweden has taken an active hand. Sweden is one of the largest donors to various UN bodies in the sphere of multilateral development cooperation.
Formal cooperation between the Nordic countries is one of the oldest and most far-reaching examples of regional cooperation in the world. The political cooperation is built on common values and a desire to achieve results that contribute to dynamic development and increase Nordic expertise and competitiveness.
- The Nordic Council The Nordic Council, which was established in 1952, comprises 87 members from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland. The members of the Council are members of the countries' parliaments, nominated by their respective party and chosen by the parliament. There are no direct elections to the Nordic Council.
- Nordic Council of Ministers The Nordic Council of Ministers was formed in 1971 and is the body for Nordic intergovernmental cooperation. Despite its name, the Nordic Council of Ministers is not one council of ministers but several. The Nordic ministers for specific policy areas meet in the Council of Ministers several times a year. The exceptions include the foreign ministers and defence ministers, who are outside the Nordic Council of Ministers. Of course, this does not prevent these ministers from holding meetings at Nordic level.