Minister for Foreign Affairs Tobias Billström presented the Government’s 2023 Statement of Foreign Policy at the parliamentary debate on foreign affairs in the Riksdag today.
The Statement, which summarises the Government’s foreign policy priorities for 2023, contains a number of focus areas.
“Sweden finds itself in a new era. This is why we are now setting a new overall course for foreign, security and defence policy. The Government will primarily pursue a Swedish and European foreign policy, with Swedish interests and democratic values at its core,” says Mr Billström.
Since Russia’s large-scale invasion last year, Sweden’s support to Ukraine has totalled more than SEK 14 billion. Sweden has provided Ukraine with military support, advanced weapons and humanitarian and economic assistance.
“Sweden will be a strong partner to Ukraine as the country rebuilds. Already this year, Ukraine is expected to become the largest recipient of Swedish bilateral development assistance. Sweden stands by Ukraine, and will continue to do so for as long as necessary,” says Mr Billström.
Sweden’s future NATO membership means a new foreign and security policy identity. The strong support for Sweden’s NATO application in both the Riksdag and public opinion is a strength. Sweden also has very strong support within NATO, as is manifested by security guarantees from a large number of NATO countries.
“Sweden will be an Ally to rely on. By joining NATO, we will strengthen our security policy influence and our contribution to security and stability in the entire Euro-Atlantic area. Sweden will be stronger with NATO, and NATO will be stronger with Sweden,” says Mr Billström.
The Government will have a clear focus on Sweden’s neighbourhood in light of the new security environment. The Nordic family forms one of the world’s oldest and most closely knit regional cooperation structures.
“This begins with our closest partner – Finland. We are geographically, historically and culturally intertwined with Finland. And our relationship will be deepened further through Sweden’s and Finland’s NATO membership,” says Mr Billström.
Sweden will be a future driving force on cyber issues. The Government is therefore planning to present a strategy for cyber and digital issues in foreign and security policy. It will be used to ensure that our cyber and digital policy is aligned with Sweden’s security and defence interests and that cyber policy also promotes our foreign policy values. A special envoy for international cyber issues will also be appointed.