Anförande vid Trans European Policy Studies Association
Den 2 december talade EU-minister Jessika Rosvall vid konferensen för Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA). Fokus för konferensen var bland annat det svenska ordförandeskapet i EU:s ministerråd i ljuset av kriget i Ukraina, det ekonomiska läget och energikrisen.
Talet är publicerat på engelska. Det talade ordet gäller.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,
First, thanks to TEPSA for inviting me to this discussion, and for your valuable recommendations to our forthcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
There is less than a month left until the third Swedish Presidency.
From past experience, we know that this is an opportunity to play a leading role and set the Union’s agenda. We also know that is an opportunity to boost this Government’s expertise and capability.
Our Government took office just three months before Sweden takes over the Presidency. That poses quite a challenge.
But I believe that starting the term of office with the Presidency is the ideal way to forge a strong, pro-EU government, which we will need for our whole term and beyond.
What more could one wish for as Minister for EU Affairs?
We are taking the helm at a time when we are faced with war and major challenges in Europe. These are not the best of times, but some of the most difficult.
This is a time marked by emergencies and crisis management. When we do what we must. But also a time when we act together and in unity, because we know that doing so makes us all the stronger.
At the same time, we know that the strength of our Union depends on something more than stopgap measures to steer clear of immediate dangers.
First and foremost, our strength and standing in the world derive from a robust economy, backed up by societies based on common fundamental values and the rule of law.
We must therefore get back to basics and step up our efforts to strengthen the EU’s competitiveness. We must safeguard the growth that we need to stand strong and weather future crises. This is the way to assert the EU’s place in a competitive world.
I thank TEPSA for making this a key recommendation for the Swedish Presidency.
Let me now briefly highlight four aspects that are essential to Europe in a competitive world, which will also be central during the Swedish Presidency.
First, we must safeguard the security of our citizens and strengthen the EU’s geopolitical importance.
This goes without saying. We must assist Ukraine in its fight for freedom with maximum political, economic, military, humanitarian and legal support. And we must do so in unity.
We must develop our cooperation with other countries. This includes a revitalised enlargement process.
And we need strategic relationships with many other countries. Especially with allies like the US and the UK, who have been instrumental in providing support to Ukraine. But we also need to find ways to continue our cooperation with China in areas such as climate issues. And we need to find a common European voice in both respects.
The EU needs to diversify supply chains. We cannot afford to put all our eggs in one basket. As former Commissioner Malmström is well aware, the Union must establish open, strong and sustainable trade relations around the world to accomplish this. We will thus work for open trade with partners like Australia and New Zealand, like Mexico and Chile, like India, Indonesia, and MERCOSUR.
As a Union, we must promote our strategic interests and our values in this cooperation. We must remain the principal champion of a rules-based world order. We must continue to stand for what has served us so well in the past.
Second, we must step up efforts to combat climate change.
As Sweden and several other EU countries have already shown, economic growth and innovation can go hand in hand with lowering greenhouse-gas emissions. Businesses are in fact demanding that we speed up the green transition.
Energy policy plays a key role in this transition. To combat climate change, we must phase out fossil fuels. And Russia has now made it clear to us just how urgently we must phase out any dependency on their gas.
The only way forward is to invest in fossil-free and reliable energy – wind, solar, hydroelectric, hydrogen and nuclear power.
Similarly, investments in sustainable transport systems and other technological innovations provide great opportunities for society.
This is the essence of the green transition.
Third, we need effective regulation to promote well-functioning markets, competition and innovation.
We need to develop and deepen the single market – our crown jewel.
For 30 years, the single market has delivered growth in Europe – the remaining barriers must now be removed. And development of the markets for services and the digital sector is long overdue.
During the Swedish Presidency, we will emphasise this and put competitiveness issues front and centre.
Why is this important? Because it is through competitive and innovative companies that we create sustainable growth, accelerate the green and digital transition, increase the resilience of the economy and strengthen the Union’s geopolitical importance.
Finally, I would like to stress the importance of our common fundamental values and respect for the rule of law.
Needless to say, our fundamental values and the rule of law are important in and of themselves. But they also provide the trust that is necessary for the deep cooperation in legal and economic matters that we have in the EU.
Strong compliance with the rule of law offers investors legal and political safeguards. It also increases the attractiveness and competitiveness of the single market.
Moreover, it is our values-based cooperation that makes the EU special and sets us apart from other powers and blocs in a competitive world. And it is our values that attract countries like Ukraine to our Union.
Thank you for your contributions and recommendations for the Swedish Presidency. I look forward to a lively and engaging discussion, both today and in the months to come.