Well managed public finances at both national and EU level lays the foundation for greater confidence in the policy being pursued and stable economic growth shared by everyone. Photo: Folio/Florian Küttler

Even though the economic situation in the EU has improved, we see high long-term unemployment, growing gaps and unacceptably high youth unemployment in many parts of Europe. Well managed public finances at both national and EU level lays the foundation for greater confidence in the policy being pursued and stable economic growth shared by everyone.

In spring 2018 the Commission will propose a new long-term budget for the period after 2020. The Government will work intensively to influence that proposal as much as possible, mainly along with other like-minded Member States. Negotiations on the new proposal are expected to start in mid-2018.

When the UK leaves the EU, a large contribution to the EU budget will disappear, as will an important ally for Sweden in the budget negotiations.

The Government will work to ensure that:

  • The total expenditure in the EU’s multiannual financial framework does not exceed 1 per cent of the EU’s GNI, that the Swedish contribution is kept down and that the use of EU funds is controlled more effectively.
  • The EU has a modern budget with refocused priorities benefitting security, migration, competitiveness, research and actions against climate change. This means less funding for agricultural support and structural funds. At the same time the Government will protect the relative return of funds to Sweden.
  • All Member States stand up for our common values and decisions made. EU membership brings both rights and obligations. There must be a cost for not taking responsibility.

Inclusive growth through open trade and a competitive Single Market
More than 70 per cent of Swedish exports go to the Single Market and our export industry employs more than 1.4 million people in Sweden. In the past twenty years over 80 per cent of all the new jobs have been created in the services sector. Disproportionate barriers to trade must be removed to facilitate the development of the services sector. Market surveillance of goods on the Single Market also needs to be modernised to enable consumers to feel secure that products are safe and environmentally sustainable and to enable companies to compete on equal terms.

The EU needs to increase its ability to generate and attract highly qualified activities in global value chains. The innovative capacity of European industry needs to be enhanced.

The Government will work to ensure that:

  • Disproportionate barriers to the movement of goods and services disappear, especially through the implementation of the Single Market Strategy for goods and services;
  • An ambitious free trade agenda with more free trade agreements between the EU and other parties;
  • Action in the EU’s coming framework programme for research and innovation makes more of a contribution to increased competitiveness and more jobs.

Digitalisation is driving the development of society, promoting competitiveness and creating new jobs. If the EU is to be able to retain a leading position in the digital economy, investment is needed in infrastructure, education and skills development.

One important step on that path is to complete the Digital Single Market strategy. Since most businesses depend on free, cross-border flows of data in their activities, the development of the Digital Single Market must support the free movement of data across national borders both within and beyond the EU.

The Government will work to ensure that:

  • The proposals in the EU’s Digital Single Market strategy are implemented in 2018.
  • The proposal concerning free flows of data is adopted speedily and the flows of data to and from third countries are facilitated, for example by international agreements.

Fair jobs and working conditions.

Conditions in the European labour market must be fair and decent. To protect workers’ conditions, companies’ competitiveness and the legitimacy of free movement, cross-border work must be combined with the principle of equal pay for equal work and conducted in line with good working conditions and a good work environment. The Government’s starting point continues to be that the competence of Member States; national labour market models and the autonomy of social partners; and the standing of collective agreements must be respected.

The Government will work to ensure that:

  • The revision of the Posting of Workers Directive is completed so as to confirm the principle of equal pay for equal work in posting situations.
  • The coordination of social security systems is developed and promotes the dialogue between Member States and mobility for persons in the EU, especially workers.
  • Clear rules and fair competition for a well-functioning Single Market steer legislation in the area of transport and lead to better working conditions in the whole of the EU as well as that the protection of social rights is strengthened.

Stronger gender equality and flexibility

A Europe for jobs and inclusive growth builds on a synergy between growth, competitiveness and social progress. The implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights will make a positive contribution to women’s and men’s quality of life at the same time as the division of competence between the EU and its Member States is retained.

Stronger gender equality is both a rights issue and needed to increase Europe’s growth and global competitiveness. When women are outside the labour market, potential for growth goes to waste.

Access to life-long education contributes to a flexible labour market. The need for further education throughout life is increasing, especially as a result of the digitisation and robotisation of society. People’s skills need to develop in pace with the technological development and to be matched to new types of jobs.

The Government will work to ensure that:

The principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights are monitored in a structured way within the European Semester; The Directive on Work-Life Balance is designed in a way that contributes to a more gender equal working life and enables high labour force participation among both women and men irrespective of their family situation.

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