Although more than half of Sweden’s laws and regulations originate from the EU, EU policies are covered quite blurry in the Swedish public debate. Environment, agriculture, and foreign trade are areas with a higher proportion of EU-related legislation, according to a study from the Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies (Sieps), based on data up to 2015. There has been acknowledged a clear positive impact on trade and security, labour market, and regional development while rising immigration leaves room for improvement in politics.
Aspects of how the EU membership has affected life in Sweden have been broadly researched and summarized in the report “The Swedish EU opinion 1992–2020” (in Swedish: Svensk EU-opinion 1992–2020), published in 2021. The study was conducted by the SOM Institute at the University of Gothenburg in collaboration with Sieps. The report outlines that the Swedish people gained support for the Union. The assessment showed broad support in areas such as military security, environmental and climate issues, and labour market and employment. A positive impact was acknowledged in crime fighting and law enforcement, gender equality, and agriculture. However, given the increased level of immigration, the membership has been evaluated mainly negatively, where 55 percent would propose introducing mandatory refugee quotas in the EU.
Undoubtedly, one of the greatest achievements of the Member States has been the launch of the EU’s single market nearly 30 years ago. There is still a lot to be done by the Member States to deepen and strengthen the cooperation, to eliminate unjustified trade barriers, among others. The 2023 Swedish EU Presidency gives high priority to further work towards a set of goals: a stronger market for services, an internal market, better equipped for the crisis, and an efficient and effective internal market, which contributes to a circular economy with reduced environmental and climate prints, prohibiting placing on the market of products manufactured by using forced labour, among others.
These almost three decades of active membership in the European family have contributed to boosting Swedish growth significantly.