Democracy, fundamental rights and the Swedish model

The Swedish social model and the contribution of wage earners to the economic success of the EU are among the themes to be discussed at the Workers' Group conference in Stockholm taking place on the occasion of the Swedish EU Presidency.

The first debate will focus on the priorities of the Swedish EU Presidency and the challenges it faces. It will be moderated by Workers' Group member Berivan Öngörur, with an introduction by Jan Olsson, Deputy Director General for EU Affairs from the Prime Minister's Office of Sweden, and various contributions including from LO President Susanna Gideonson, TCO President Therese Svanström, and SACO President Göran Arrius.

The panel on the first day, to be moderated by Workers' Group member Sam Hägglund, will focus on the origins of the Swedish model. What are its advantages? What can be taken over by other countries? The social model known in Sweden includes a comprehensive welfare state and multi-level collective bargaining, with an elaborate social safety net that has ensured wealth and progress. The aim is to analyse its strong and weak points and send out a clear signal that social dialogue and collective bargaining are key for ensuring fair and decent working conditions for all.

Contributions are expected by Irene Wennemo, Director General of the Swedish Mediation Office, Thomas Carlén, economist of LO, Veronica Magnusson President of the Trade Union Vision, and Ursula Berge, Political director, Trade Union for Academics within Social Sciences, followed by closing remarks from Lucie Studničná, the recently elected Workers' Group President.

Linked to this debate is the panel organised on 12 May on "The twin transition in Europe and the social dimension", which will be hosted by Workers' Group member Benny Johansson, with contributions from senior advisor Allan Larsson, who will open the panel, Therese Guovelin, LO first Vice-President, Peter Hellberg, first Vice-President of trade union Unionen, and Jenny Rydstedt, SACO International secretary.

The last panel of the conference will focus on "The need to fight for democracy and fundamental rights" and will be moderated by Workers' Group member Ellen Nygren. The debate will focus on issues such as the rising extremism, the spread of disinformation, external threats like Russia's invasion of Ukraine, internal threats emanating from populist governments undermining free media and the rule of law in order to maintain their power, etc. Contributions are expected from Heike Erkers, President of Trade Union for Academics within Social Sciences, Monica Arvidsson, Research officer of LO, and Charlotta Helge, Head of policy department of TCO.