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Sweden has the largest population among the Nordic countries and is the third-largest country in the European Union by surface area. To the west, Sweden is separated from Norway by mountains and is connected to the south by a road and rail bridge to Denmark.
The most important sectors of Sweden’s economy in 2012 were public administration, defence, education, human health and social work activities (23.9 %), industry (19.9 %) and wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food services (17.6 %).
Sweden’s main export partners are Norway, Germany and the UK, while its main import partners are Germany, Norway and Denmark.
Geographical size: 438 575.8 km2
Population: 9 482 855 (2012)
Population as % of total EU population: 1.9 % (2012)
GDP: € 407.820 billion (2012)
Official EU language(s): Swedish
Political system: parliamentary constitutional monarchy
EU member country since: 1 January 1995
Seats in the European Parliament: 20
Currency: Swedish krona SEK
Passport-free travel? Yes, Schengen Area member since 19 December 1996.
Presidency of the Council: Sweden has held the revolving presidency of the Council of the EU twice: in 2001 and 2009.
In the Council of the EU, national ministers meet regularly to adopt EU laws and coordinate policies. Council meetings are regularly attended by representatives from the Swedish government, depending on the policy area being addressed.
The Council of the EU doesn't have a permanent, single-person president (like e.g. the Commission or Parliament). Instead, its work is led by the country holding the Council presidency, which rotates every 6 months.
During these 6 months, ministers from that country's government chair and help determine the agenda of Council meetings in each policy area, and facilitate dialogue with the other EU institutions.
Dates of Swedish presidencies:
Jan-Jun 2001 | Jul-Dec 2009
More on the current presidency of the Council of the EU.
The Commission is represented in each EU country by a local office, called a "representation".
Sweden has 12 representatives on the European Economic and Social Committee. This advisory body – representing employers, workers and other interest groups – is consulted on proposed laws, to get a better idea of the possible changes to work and social situations in member countries.
Sweden has 12 representatives on the Committee of the Regions, the EU's assembly of regional and local representatives. This advisory body is consulted on proposed laws, to ensure these laws take account of the perspective from each region of the EU.
Sweden also communicates with the EU institutions through its permanent representation in Brussels. As Sweden's "embassy to the EU", its main task is to ensure that the country's interests and policies are pursued as effectively as possible in the EU.
Member countries' financial contributions to the EU budget are shared fairly, according to means. The larger your country's economy, the more it pays – and vice versa. The EU budget doesn't aim to redistribute wealth, but rather to focus on the needs of all Europeans as a whole.
Breakdown of Sweden's finances with the EU in 2012:
More figures on the EU budget, revenue and spending:
The money paid into the EU budget by Sweden helps fund programmes and projects in all EU countries - like building roads, subsidising researchers and protecting the environment.
Find out more about how Sweden benefits from EU funding.