EU Commission visits Kiruna for meeting with PM and King of Sweden

Sweden’s northernmost city, Kiruna, is playing host to a visit by the entire European Commission this week as Sweden’s six-month EU presidency truly kicks off.

EU Commission visits Kiruna for meeting with PM and King of Sweden
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Photo: AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias

They will have a meeting, but also visit the LKAB mine and space centre Esrange, and be welcomed by King Carl XVI Gustaf.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will hold a joint press conference with Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson on Friday. She will also meet with the King.

“Our leadership in the next six months will focus on the ambition to make Europe greener, safer and freer. Those are the key words,” Swedish newswire TT quoted Kristersson as telling reporters about Sweden’s EU presidency on Wednesday.

The country’s presidency got under way on January 1st and runs until June 30th.

In this time, Swedish ministers and civil servants will lead negotiations on upwards of 300 issues at approximately 2,000 meetings, mainly in Brussels and Luxembourg.

Sweden will have the difficult job of finding compromises between the EU countries and building consensus in European institutions. Here are the top priorities explained.

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Swedish PM’s top aide resigns over illegal eel fishing

One of Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson's top aides has resigned from his post after it emerged that he had been fined by police for illegally fishing for eels and had twice lied to the authorities about what happened.

Swedish PM's top aide resigns over illegal eel fishing

PM Nilsson lied twice to police about eel fishing equipment he was caught with, the second time after he was appointed as state secretary at the end of October. 

After the resignation, Kristersson said he was disappointed that Nilsson, who had previously been a columnist for the Dagens Industri newspaper, had had to step down. 

“I think of course that it is unfortunate that this situation has come about, but I understand his decision,” he said in a written comment to the TT newswire. “PM Nilsson has been a highly appreciated member of the team and is a highly competent person. We are going to miss him.” 

READ ALSO: Why a political aide’s eel denial is causing friction in Sweden

Nilsson announced his decision on Facebook, saying that he had already apologised and paid the fines. 

“I understand how improper it is to fish for eels without a permit and to not tell things as they were to the authorities, even if I have since then rung the police and admitted that I had caught 15 fish,” he wrote in the post. 

Nilsson was recently fined for poaching eel in 2021, and has admitted to having lied to police in a conversation just before Christmas when he claimed that the eel-fishing equipment he had been caught with was not his. He later regretted this decision and informed the police.  

In his Facebook post, Nilsson referred to media reports that police were now investigating him for a further crime of contravening a law to protect endangered species, saying he did not know if this were the case. 

The opposition Social Democrats on Monday referred Ulf Kristersson to the parliament’s Committee on the Constitution, requiring him to explain the situation around Nilsson, and about whether Kristersson knew of the poaching incident when he appointed him, and also on the security vetting which took place. 

“We need to get clarity about how the process of recruiting him took place,” Ardalan Shekarabi, the party’s justice spokesman, said. “What we are chiefly reacting against is that the state secretary lied to the authorities.”