Works with EU matters

As a result of Sweden’s membership of the EU, the Riksdag is not the only body with the authority to decide what laws will apply in Sweden. This is also done by the EU’s legislative institutions. The Riksdag and the other national parliaments in the EU member states have transferred part of their right to make decisions on legislation to the EU. Work with EU matters is one of the Riksdag’s main tasks.

The everyday work of the Riksdag is greatly affected by the EU. EU documents are considered and debated in the committees and the Chamber, and the Government is obliged to consult the Riksdag regarding its EU policies in the Committee on EU Affairs. The Riksdag and the national parliaments of the other EU member states scrutinise whether new legislation within certain policy areas should be taken at EU level or in each individual member state.

The Government represents Sweden in the EU, but the Riksdag also has opportunities to influence the work of the EU in various ways. This video describes the Riksdag’s work with EU matters. Video: The Riksdag Administration

The Riksdag and the Government have different roles

In the EU, it is the Government that represents Sweden and is involved in adopting EU legislation. It does this, primarily in the EU Council of Ministers, which consists of government ministers from all EU member states. However, the Government must obtain support for its EU policies in the Riksdag.

The Riksdag therefore has the opportunity to influence the EU’s decisions. Work with EU matters is conducted in all parts of the Riksdag - in the parliamentary committees, in the Committee on EU Affairs and in the Chamber. The purpose is to influence the Government’s EU policies and, to a certain extent, the EU’s legislative institutions.

Works with EU matters in many different ways

The Riksdag’s work with EU matters includes the following:

A stack of papers with the EU flag on it – illustration
Illustration: The Riksdag Administration

Examines EU strategy documents

The European Commission sends documents of various kinds to the national parliaments. These include strategy documents in which the Commission presents its ideas for upcoming measures. The strategy documents may be examined by the parliamentary committees when they have been submitted to the Riksdag. 

Scrutinises new legislation to see whether it should be decided at the EU level

When the European Commission sends a completed proposal for new legislation, the Riksdag and the national parliaments of the other EU member states scrutinise the proposal to see whether the objectives can best be reached at national or EU level.

Monitors the Government’s EU policies

The Government is accountable to the Riksdag, including for its handling of EU matters. The Government is therefore obliged to inform the Riksdag in advance of developments in the cooperation between the EU member states, and must also consult the Riksdag regarding Sweden’s position on various matters. The Government does this in various ways: in the Riksdag Committee on EU Affairs, in the Chamber of the Riksdag and in deliberations with the parliamentary committees.

Ensures that EU legislation is implemented in Sweden

When the Council of Ministers and European Parliament have adopted new EU legislation, it must sometimes be incorporated into the members states’ national legislation in order to apply. It is the Riksdag that implements EU legislation in Sweden. The procedure is roughly the same as when the Riksdag adopts new laws that have been initiated in Sweden.

More about how the Riksdag makes laws

Cooperates with parliaments in the other EU member states

The Riksdag cooperates with the national parliaments in the other EU member states and with the European Parliament in various ways. The parliamentary committees and the Committee on EU Affairs meet their counterparts in the other EU member states to discuss topical issues at various interparliamentary conferences and meetings.

More about interparliamentary cooperation in the EU

Different kinds of EU legislation

The most common kinds of EU legislation which are binding for the EU member states are regulations and directives. A regulation is a law that applies in exactly the same way in all EU countries and which starts to apply as soon as it comes into force. A directive is a form of EU legislation that sets an objective to be achieved, but leaves the member states to decide how to go about this. The member states often have two years in which to implement the directive.

How an EU law is made

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