Due to the current brewing crisis, Sweden’s term as head of the Council of the European Union appears to be especially challenging. The war in Ukraine has created an economic crisis and packed the legislative agenda. It will require exceptional diplomatic skills to get countries to agree on a number of files as the term of the Commission’s and European Parliaments terms are fast approaching.
These are the people Europe should know about the Swedish presidency.
Lars Danielsson: Chief negotiator
Danielsson is the Swedish ambassador in the European Union. He will be the Swedish representative through the country’s third presidency of the Council of the EU. The career diplomat with more than four decades of experience will lead 200 officials in Brussels in tackling some of Europe’s most pressing challenges, including keeping the bloc united in its support for Ukraine and limiting the rise of energy prices, as well as dozens of other laws in the making.
Danielsson has a history of brokering European deals on controversial topics. The former state secretary to EU affairs led his country’s first presidency in 2001Sweden’s efforts to bring countries such as Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic in the EU were a success.
Danielsson’s diplomatic experience extends beyond the EU. He has had diplomatic experiences in Geneva, Beijing and Hong Kong. He also knows Stockholm’s political corridors very well: He was twice a foreign policy adviser to prime ministers.
All of this knowledge will be necessary to navigate the presidency that will likely prove difficult. With the European election around the corner in 2024, Sweden’s top diplomat in Brussels since 2016 and his teams will have to work twice as hard to finalize dozens of laws under the directions of a new government in Stockholm.
“The challenge for us is not to be submerged by crisis management,” Danielsson told a European Policy Centre event in November.
Jessika Roswall: First-time European minister
Roswall has made her goals as Sweden’s new European affairs minister clear: turning her country into a “leading force to be reckoned with” again.
Roswall is a former family lawyer, who was primarily specializing in criminal law. She was elected to Sweden’s parliament as a member of the Moderate Party’s center-right. Rising up through the ranks, she became the party’s spokesperson on EU relations in 2019. She is also a keen (and stylish(Skier who competed for the Parliament’s Ski Team.
While the free-trade defender, who was elected minister in October, will not have much time to prepare for her role as EU president, she has already begun. stated that she felt “as prepared as can be.” Roswall, who also counts Nordic affairs in her portfolio, will work within the prime minister’s office.
She will seek to push forward Sweden’s priorities: stepping up security for EU citizens; stopping organized crime; accelerating efforts to limit climate change; doubling down on the EU’s competitiveness; and protecting the Union’s fundamental values.
Roswall said that while Sweden is expected to be impartial, there will be room “to put a certain national stamp on the presidency and to focus on issues that are in the interests of both Sweden and Europe.”
There are concerns in Brussels though that this “national stamp” will come with a far-right slant, since Roswall’s coalition government is dependent on support in parliament from the Euroskeptic Sweden Democrats.
Christian Danielsson, Veteran EU advisor
As state secretary to the EU affairs minister, Danielsson will act as Roswall’s adviser and will work on the coordination of the Swedish presidency of the Council of the EU.
Danielsson is an expert on the Brussels bubble: He has worked in each of the three EU institutions and built up a large contacts list.
He was in charge of enlargement, or accepting new member countries to the bloc, during his country’s first presidency in 2001. And he was Sweden’s permanent representative to the EU during the country’s second presidency in 2009.
He was asked by Charles Michel, President of the European Council, to be his representative in 2021. becomeHis envoy will oversee sensitive mediation discussions in Georgia to end the political conflict between the government leaders and opposition leaders. The deal was brokered hailedAs a success.
After serving as director general of the Commission for neighborhood and enlargement negotiations, (DG NEAR), he was nominated. He was also deputy head of Cabinet for European Commission Vice President Günter Verheugen, responsible for relations with Turkey and competitiveness. Before becoming state secretary, he was head of the European Commission’s Representation in Sweden.
Ylva Johansson: Bullish commissioner
Sweden’s Commissioner for Home Affairs Johansson will feature prominently during her country’s presidency. She is a social democrat but has worked in the field of home affairs. embraced many of Stockholm’s new priorities, from fighting organized crime to securing the European Union’s external borders and helping Ukrainian refugees in the bloc.
Johansson is a former lawmaker and has a good understanding of the workings of Swedish politics. She was also minister for integration and minister for health, and schools minister.
She is known for being a bully politician in Brussels. She pushed for the expansion of Europol’s power and fighting online child sexual abuse. Her combative approach worked: She was integral in the swift interventionCommission to negotiate a historical agreement to grant rights and protections to Ukrainians fleeing war torn country.
Johansson is also an author, but he’s not involved in politics. honorary member of Hammarby football club in Stockholm — though she also appears to have a soft spot for Liverpool.
Johansson will also rely on her head of Cabinet, Åsa Webber. Webber is a Brussels insider who started at the Swedish permanent rep in 2005. She then became the deputy permanent rep to the EU between 2014 and 2019.
Gertrud Ingestad: HR chief
You want to get a job at The European Commission? Gertrud Igestad, the director general of human resources and security, is a great person to have in common.
Since 2020, the Swede has been responsible for the recruitment policy, training, and working conditions of around 32,000 contract and permanent employees at the European Commission.
Ingestad was a translator when she first got to the Commission in 1995. Before becoming the Commission’s HR chief, she headed the IT department at a time when 82 percentMen comprised the majority of adviser-level personnel.
On the day Belgium’s coronavirus pandemic was contained, she assumed the leadership of human resources. She has since led work policy changes to nudge Eurocrats to bid goodbye to their offices — that’s involved ramping up teleworkingthe sharing of desks in open-plan floors and the use thereof
She has set goals to increase gender parity within the Commission, increase use of digital instruments and make the institution climate zero by 2030. Ingestad must also attract the best talent to the job as the Commission enforces broad tech laws such the Digital Services Act.
Ingestad will be armed with a shotgun and a group of hounds. Do not be alarmed. With her three Weimaraner hunting dogs, Viktor, Max, and Charly she hunts game birds.
Jessica Polfjärd, Karin Karlsbro, Sara Skyttedal: The European Parliament trio
Out of Sweden’s 21 representatives in the European parliament, three European lawmakers hailing from political parties in the coalition government have been working on crucial laws for Sweden.
Polfjärd (Moderates, EPP), Karlsbro (Liberals, Renew), and Skyttedal (Christian Democrats, EPP) will be Stockholm’s lifeline to the European Parliament.
Polfjärd has a strong background in Swedish politics. From 2016 to 2019, she was a member the parliament. was the Moderates’ group leader from 2015 to 2017 and a spokesperson for the party on two separate occasions on labor market policy and tax policy.
A first-time European lawmaker, Polfjärd has made her mark as a fierce defender of nuclear power. She is a member both of the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly’s committee on the environment, health, and food safety. She is also the lead lawmakerOn national climate targets for EU country and greenhouse gas emission reductions, and is currently working to a law the circular economymarket and on a law make batteries more sustainable.
Skyttedal (Christian Democrats; EPP) has been involved in the development of this project. tougher border rules A 2022 plan for the European defense sector to be strengthened through common procurement. She is a member both of the industry research and energy committee and the committee on justice and domestic affairs. Skyttedal hasn’t shied away from making her positions emoji-clearTwitter, including on rumoredTax on your beloved Swedish tobacco pouches Snus. Later, the Commission clarified that it was no plans to impose such a tax. Skyttedal was an alumnus of Skyttedal High School before he entered politics. Miss Sweden entrant in 2006.
Karlsbro, a member the committee on international commerce, is the trade coordinator for Renew. She also serves as vice-chair for the delegation on relations with Belarus. She is also involved in the development of the EU’s law on deforestationThe file is crucial for Sweden and it also includes information on batteries. Karlsbro’s position in Brussels and at home will be tricky. After it was supported by the far-right Sweden Democrats, the Swedish Liberal Party came under heavy criticism from the Renew group. Karlsbro has also expressedShe was concerned about the Sweden Democrats’ views regarding EU policy.
Karlsbro likes to hike and protested against France’s nuclear bomb tests on South Pacific islands when she was a teenager. A cat was also acquired by Karlsbro, but her family is still negotiating whether Karsten, Frans or Bilbo should be his name.
Wilhelmine Preussen, James Randerson and Tristan Fiedler contributed reporting.
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