Mid-December, the Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson delivered a speech to the Riksdag (Swedish Parliament) to outline the country’s main priorities for the first half of 2023. From 1 January until 30 June, Sweden will be assuming the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, concluding the current ‘trio’ composed of France and the Czech Republic. “At a time when the European Union is facing unprecedented challenges”, the country has decided to concentrate its efforts on building “a greener, more secure and freer Europe”, according to the Swedish Prime Minister. He also emphasised the importance of “maintaining unity in the EU and advancing issues that require joint solutions”.  
 
Sweden’s Presidency will be built around four main pillars, namely security (unity), resilience (competitiveness), prosperity (green & energy transition), as well as democratic values and the rule of law (our foundation). During the upcoming six months, the country is committed to limiting the consequences of Russia’s illegal aggression against the Ukraine. Key topics for the fitness and physical activity industry will be tackled. The ongoing energy crisis will be addressed through strong measures, such as negotiating alternative supplies, reforming the EU’s electricity market design, and shifting towards renewable energies. On health, among the priorities, we can find the implementation of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, the need to raise awareness of public health policy risks relating to increased loneliness, as well as the importance of promoting effective coordination during negotiations in the World Health Organization on an international pandemic treaty. Finally, regarding sports, the Presidency will continue implementing the measures outlined in the EU Work Plan for Sport 2020–2024, with a focus on good governance and administration.  
 
The programme, which outlines the need to accelerate the green and digital transitions, is expected to be implemented through about 2 000 meetings in Brussels and Luxembourg, and around 150 informal meetings in Sweden. To get a more in-depth overview, please visit the Swedish Presidency’s official website: www.sweden2023.eu 
 
In the second half of 2023, a new ‘trio’ composed of Spain, Belgium and Hungary will take over the EU Presidency, and will issue a new joint programme for the period from 1 July 2023–31 December 2024.
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Jan 12, 2023 By Pauline Joskin