‘European companies are at forefront of green transition’: Sweden’s EU minister

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Sweden is using its presidency of the EU Council to keep European countries mobilised in their support for Ukraine, and to try to enforce the current sanctions on Russia more effectively. Sweden’s EU Affairs Minister Jessika Roswall speaks to Talking Europe about those issues, as well as Sweden’s application to join NATO, and Stockholm’s other priorities in its EU presidency, which is now two months into its six-month stint.

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Asked about the sticking points in Sweden’s NATO membership bid, Roswall says: “Sweden changed its view quite rapidly last spring. Almost every party in our parliament voted for the country to join NATO. This is very important for our security, and for NATO’s security too. I’m very happy that almost every other country has said “yes” to our application. There are two countries left. I’m glad that Hungary is having a discussion in their parliament and I hope they will have a vote soon. As for Turkey, we have done the things that we agreed on, and now it’s up to Turkey to make its decision.”

Turning to sanctions on Russia, Roswall states: “The tenth package of sanctions that was adopted at the end of February shows that the EU has the strength to move forward and to keep making these sanctions packages. The Justice and Home Affairs Council will continue to discuss how to make those sanctions more effective and to make sure that circumvention of the sanctions doesn’t happen.”

And on the EU Commission president’s upcoming visit to Ottawa and Washington, Roswall says: “When it comes to sanctions, and Ukraine, and the rebuilding of Ukraine, it’s important that we have close contacts with the US, Canada, Japan, and others. As for subsidies: I, and European leaders, have said that we don’t want to see a subsidy race. And the US Inflation Reduction Act should take into account the rules that we have on trade and subsidies. But I should also emphasise that it’s a good thing that the US is making the green transition that Europe started a long time ago. And our European companies are at the forefront of that transition.”

Programme produced by Perrine Desplats, Sophie Samaille and Isabelle Romero