Overall political direction for Sweden’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2023

Published

At the EU’s General Affairs Council meeting on 14 December, the ministers for EU affairs approved the overall political direction for the French, Czech and Swedish Presidencies of the Council – known as the 18-month programme. The trio Presidency took over in January 2022, and Sweden will lead the work of the Council between 1 January and 30 June 2023.

  • Three people standing in front of three flags with documents in their hands.

    Minister for EU Affairs Hans Dahlgren together with his French and Czech colleagues Clément Beaune and Milena Hrdinková during a meeting i Brussels about the the 18-month programme.

    Photo: Government of the Czech Republic

  • People sitting round a large round table at a meeting.

    Roundtable at the EU’s General Affairs Council meeting on 14 December.

    Photo: European Union

  • Minister for EU Affairs Hans Dahlgren

    Minister for EU Affairs Hans Dahlgren.

    Photo: Kristian Pohl/Government Offices of Sweden

“I look forward to working closely with France and the Czech Republic, which will hold the Presidency in 2022. This is how we will lay the foundations for a successful Swedish Presidency in spring 2023,” says Minister for EU Affairs Hans Dahlgren.

The presidencies, which rotate every six months, are to work in the interests of the Union as a whole and have to deal with the issues of the day in the Council. The joint 18-month programme will help ensure continuity in the Council’s work and facilitate support and assistance between the countries of the trio. The programme is a document setting out the overall political direction and containing the issues that will be addressed in the Council by the incoming trio. The structure follows the four main priorities of the strategic agenda adopted by the European Council in 2019, which will guide the work of the institutions during the current legislative period, which runs until 2024.

One year until Sweden’s Presidency

“On 1 January 2023, Sweden will take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The most important task is to drive the EU agenda forward and deliver decisions that benefit EU citizens,” says Minister for EU Affairs Hans Dahlgren.

Sweden is to lead the negotiations in a professional, efficient and impartial manner in the common interest of the EU.

“How a Presidency conducts negotiations is important. Everyone should have their say, and we should listen to all Member States equally,” says Minister for EU Affairs Hans Dahlgren.

There is also some scope for influencing the agenda as an individual nation, including through the priorities and the six-month programme that each country holding the Presidency produces. These will be presented shortly before the start of the Swedish Presidency.

Presidency of the Council up until 2023

• France: January – June 2022
• Czech Republic: July – December 2022
• Sweden: January – June 2023

The EU’s strategic agenda

The EU’s strategic agenda was adopted by the European Council in June 2019. The agenda sets out areas of priority in terms of action the EU will take and what it will focus on from 2019–2024. It sets out the areas that will guide the work of the European Council and provide instruction for the work programmes of other EU institutions, including the Council of the European Union.

The strategic agenda focuses on four main priorities:
• Protecting citizens and freedoms.
• Developing a strong and vibrant economic base.
• Building a climate-neutral, green, fair and social Europe.
• Promoting European interests and values on the global stage.