Written by Isabel Teixeira Nadkarni (Legislative Planning and Coordination Unit, Directorate-General for the Presidency).
The Kingdom of Sweden is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy with a Head of State – the monarch – and a Head of Government – the Prime Minister (Statsminister).
The monarch, currently King Carl XVI Gustaf, in office since September 1973, primarily has ceremonial duties.
The Prime Minister is nominated by the Speaker (Talman) of the Parliament (Riksdag), and is confirmed by parliament if less than half of its members vote against the proposal. The current Prime Minister is Ulf Kristersson, from the EPP-affiliated Moderate Party (Samlingspartiet Moderaterna) (M), which is the third biggest party in the Parliament. He took office on 17 October 2022, following the Parliamentary elections held on Sunday 11 September, with 176 members of Parliament voting in favour and 173 against. He was preceded by Magdalena Andersson from the Social Democratic Party (2021-2022).
The Prime Minister leads the Government, the executive body of the country. The Prime Minister personally appoints the members of government, once he or she has been approved by Parliament.
The current Swedish government is a centre-right minority coalition of three parties: the Moderate Party, the Christian Democrats and the Liberal Party. It also relies on the Sweden Democrats, which is the second biggest party in Parliament. The collaboration between the government and the Sweden Democrats is formally set out in the ‘Tidö’ agreement, which covers six major ‘collaborative projects’ (growth and household finances, crime, migration and integration, climate and energy, health and medical care, and schools). In addition to the collaborative projects, the parties will cooperate on a number of other issues, such as culture and democracy.
The unicameral Parliament (Riksdag) has 349 members who are elected every four years. There are currently eight parties in the Parliament:
- Socialdemokraterna (S) – The Social Democratic Party (S&D): 107 MPs
- Sverigedemokraterna (SD) – The Sweden Democrats (ECR): 73 MPs
- Moderaterna (M) – The Moderate Party (EPP): 68 MPs
- Vänsterpartiet (V) – The Left Party (The Left): 24 MPs
- Centerpartiet (C) – The Centre Party (Renew): 24 MPs
- Kristdemokraterna (KD) – The Christian Democrats (EPP): 19 MPs
- Miljöpartiet (MP) – The Green Party (Greens/EFA): 18 MPs
- Liberalerna (L) – The Liberal Party (Renew): 16 MPs
Sweden will hold the Presidency of the Council of the EU for the third time during the first half of 2023. The first Swedish Presidency was held during the first half of 2001, and the second took place during the second half of 2009, coinciding with the final months of the ratification process and the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty.
The programme of the Trio, formed together with France and Czechia, has as thematic priorities to protect citizens and freedoms; to promote a new growth and investment model for Europe; to build a climate-neutral, green, fair and social Europe; and to promote Europe’s interests and values in the world.
Sweden is also in the late stages of negotiating its entry into NATO alongside Finland.
Read the complete briefing on ‘Priority dossiers under the Swedish EU Council Presidency‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.