One of the tasks of the Riksdag is to shape Swedish foreign policy together with the Government.
It is primarily the Government that is responsible for foreign policy. However, there are certain matters that only the Riksdag can decide on. For example, following proposals from the Government, the Riksdag decides which military operations Sweden will participate in, and how great a share of our gross national income (GNI) should be spent on development cooperation.
It is the Committee on Foreign Affairs that prepares decisions regarding foreign policy before the Riksdag as a whole takes a position in the Chamber.
Foreign Policy debate in February
In the Chamber of the Riksdag and in the committees, matters relating to foreign policy are often on the agenda for members of the Riksdag. In February each year, there is a foreign policy debate at which the Minister for Foreign Affairs presents the Statement of Foreign Policy, which describes the foreign policy the Government wishes to pursue in various areas. In connection with the Statement, the parties represented in the Riksdag then debate their view of foreign policy.
Important issues are raised in the Advisory Council on Foreign Affairs
In the Advisory Council on Foreign Affairs, the Government discusses and seeks support for its foreign policy with the Riksdag. The Advisory Council on Foreign Affairs consists of the Speaker and 18 members of the Riksdag, nine ordinary members and nine deputy members. The Council is chaired by the King.
The Government has to keep the Advisory Council on Foreign Affairs continuously informed of those matters relating to foreign policy which may be of significance for Sweden, and confer with the Council as necessary. In all foreign policy matters of major significance, the Government has to confer with the Council, if possible, before a decision is taken.
Foreign policy in the EU
Since Sweden is a member of the European Union, the EU, a great deal of work relating to foreign policy is done within the framework of cooperation between the various EU member states. The Government represents Sweden in the EU. However, in its negotiations with the other EU member states, the Government cannot put forward whichever views it chooses. The Government therefore regularly meets the Government in order to coordinate on EU matters.