One of the key tasks of the Riksdag is to take decisions. There are 15 parliamentary committees with the task of ensuring that all items of parliamentary business are considered thoroughly before any decisions are taken. In addition, the Riksdag has a Committee on European Union Affairs. The Government is to consult the Committee on European Union Affairs ahead of meetings of the Council of Ministers on what line Sweden should pursue with regard to various EU policies.
The committees present proposals as a basis for decisions by the entire Riksdag. They also follow up and evaluate decisions by the Riksdag and work with research issues and future developments
Furthermore they are responsible for examining EU proposals and writing statements on certain EU documents. The Government sometimes confers with the committees on EU matters relating to the committees' respective areas of responsibility. The committees also monitor the compliance of EU proposals with what is known as the principle of subsidiarity, according to which decisions are to be taken as close to the citizens as possible.
Each committee has 17 members
Each of the parliamentary committees has 17 members representing the parties in proportion to their relative strengths in the Riksdag. This means that the larger parties have more members than smaller parties. The members of the Riksdag devote a great deal of time to their work in the committees.
The Committee on Civil Affairs
Prepares matters concerning the Marriage, Children and Parents, Inheritance, Commercial, Land and Debt Enforcement Codes and acts of law which supersede or are related to provisions of these Codes, insofar as these matters do not fall to any other committee to prepare.
The Committee on Civil Affairs also prepares matters concerning insurance contract law, company and association law, the law of torts, transport law, bankruptcy law, consumer policy, international private law, legislation on other matters having the nature of general private law, housing policy, water rights, land development planning, building and construction, physical planning, expropriation, the formation of property units and land survey.
Matters concerning appropriations falling within expenditure area 18 - Planning, housing provision, construction and consumer policy - are prepared by the Committee on Civil Affairs.
The Committee on the Constitution
Prepares matters concerning the Constitution and the Riksdag Act and other matters concerning legislation of a constitutional and general administrative nature, as well as matters relating to radio and television. Other matters concern freedom of expression, formation of public opinion, freedom of worship and financial support for the press and the political parties.
The Committee on the Constitution also prepares matters concerning the Riksdag itself and certain authorities under the Riksdag, the county administration and Sweden's administrative organisation and local self-government etc.
Matters concerning appropriations falling within expenditure area 1 - Governance - are prepared by the Committee on the Constitution.
The Committee on the Constitution also has the task of scrutinising the work of the Government and its ministers and informing the Riksdag of the result of its scrutiny. The Committee on the Constitution can also decide whether or not a member of the Riksdag or a minister is to be prosecuted.
The Committee on Cultural Affairs
Prepares matters concerning culture and cultural heritage., The Committee also prepares matters concerning education and popular adult education and adult education centres, youth activities, international cultural cooperation and as well as sport and leisure activities. The Committee also prepares some matters relating to religious communities as well as media and public service issues, radio and television insofar as they do not fall to the Committee on the Constitution to prepare. The Committee also prepares matters related to the regulation and supervision of the gambling market.
Matters concerning appropriations falling within expenditure area 17 – Culture, media, religious communities and leisure activities – are prepared by the Committee on Cultural Affairs.
The Committee on Defence
Prepares matters concerning military defence, civil defence, measures to reduce vulnerability in society, nuclear safety and radiation protection and the coastguard service all insofar as these matters do not fall to any other committee to prepare.
The Committee on Defence prepares appropriations falling within expenditure area 6 - Defence and contingency measures.
The Committee on Education
Prepares matters concerning preschool activities and care services for school children, the school system, higher education and research, and financial support for students. Space issues also belong to the Committee’s area of responsibilities
Matters concerning appropriations falling within expenditure areas 15 -Financial support for students - and 16 - Education and academic research - are prepared by the Committee on Education.
The Committee on Environment and Agriculture
Prepares matters concerning agriculture, forestry, horticulture, hunting and fishing and the meteorological services. It also prepares matters concerning nature conservation and other environmental protection issues not falling to any other committee to prepare.
Matters concerning appropriations falling within expenditure areas 20 - General environmental protection and nature conservation - and 23 - Agricultural sciences, rural areas and food - are prepared by the Committee on Environment and Agriculture.
The Committee on Finance
Prepares matters concerning general guidelines for fiscal policy, adoption of the central government budget (including decisions on ceilings for central government expenditures and estimates of central government revenue) and matters concerning the activities of the Riksbank.
The Committee on Finance also prepares matters concerning monetary, credit, currency and national debt policy, the commercial insurance market and the National Audit Office. The Committee also deals with matters relating to local government finance, the State as employer, national statistics, accounting, audits and administrative efficiency, State property and public procurement in general, certain administrative finance issues and budgetary questions of a technical nature.
The Committee prepares appropriations within expenditure areas 2 - Economy and financial administration, 25 - General grants to local government, 26 - Interest on the national debt, etc), and 27 - The contribution to the European Union.
The Committee on Foreign Affairs
Prepares matters concerning Sweden’s relations and agreements with other states and international organisations, as well as its development assistance to other countries. The Committee also prepares matters concerning foreign trade and international economic cooperation, all insofar as these matters do not fall to any other committee to prepare.
Matters concerning appropriations falling within expenditure areas 5 - International cooperation, and 7 - International development cooperation are prepared by the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
The Committee on Health and Welfare
Prepares matters concerning care and welfare services for children and young people except for pre-school activities and care services for schoolchildren, the care and welfare of the elderly and the disabled, measures to combat drug and alcohol abuse and other social service questions. It also prepares matters concerning alcohol policy measures, health and medical care and social welfare questions in general.
The Committee prepares appropriations falling within expenditure area 9 - Health and medical care, social services.
The Committee on Industry and Trade
Prepares matters concerning general guidelines for industry and trade policy and associated research questions, matters concerning industry and handicrafts, trade, intellectual property law, energy policy, regional development policy, state-owned enterprises and price and competition conditions in the business sector.
The Committee prepares appropriations falling within expenditure areas 19 - Regional development, 21 - Energy, and 24 – Industry and trade.
The Committee on Justice
Prepares matters concerning the judicial system. This policy area includes the courts, the public prosecution service, the police service, the correctional care system, the National Board of Forensic Medicine and the Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority.
The Committee also prepares matters concerning the Penal Code and the Code of Judicial Procedure and acts of law which supersede or are closely connected with provisions of these Codes.
Matters concerning appropriations falling within expenditure area 4 -Justice - are prepared by the Committee on Justice.
The Committee on the Labour Market
The Committee prepares matters concerning the labour market policy including unemployment insurance. The Committee also considers working life policy including labour law, work environment and matters relating to wage formation. Furthermore, the Committee considers matters concerning integration, discrimination and equality between women and men.
Finally, the Committee prepares appropriations falling within expenditure areas 13 - Gender equality and introduction of newly arrived immigrants, and 14 - The labour market and working life.
The Committee on Social Insurance
Prepares matters concerning social insurance, national pensions, financial support for families with children, migration and Swedish citizenship.
The Committee prepares appropriations falling within expenditure areas 8 - Migration, 10 - Financial security for those with illnesses and disabilities, 11 - Financial security for the elderly, and 12 - Financial security for families and children.
The Committee on Taxation
Prepares matters concerning central government and local government taxation and tax assessment, payment of taxes and population registers, and matters concerning debt recovery.
Matters concerning appropriations falling within expenditure area 3 - Taxes, customs and enforcement - are also prepared by the Committee on Taxation.
The Committee on Transport and Communications
Prepares matters concerning roads and road transport, railways and rail transport, ports and shipping, airports and air transport, postal services, electronic communications and IT policy.
The Committee prepares appropriations falling within expenditure area 22 - Transport and communications.
The Committee on European Union Affairs
The Riksdag is made up of eight political parties, often with differing opinions on the policies Sweden should pursue in the EU. During the Government's consultations with the Committee on EU Affairs, the Government discusses with the Riksdag what line Sweden should take on various EU matters prior to meetings of the Council of Ministers. The Government is expected to observe the Committee's positions.
The Committee on EU Affairs has 17 members who represent the parties on the same basis as in the parliamentary committees.
A joint committee
A committee can agree to work with a particular matter together with another committee or with several other committees. When this is the case, a temporary committee – a joint committee – is formed. One example of such a committee that has been formed on several occasions is the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence.