Our bilateral relationship has been strengthened recently and the priorities of the Swedish Government are conducive to them. French President Emmanuel Macron and the Swedish Prime Minister signed a strategic partnership for innovation and green solutions in Gothenburg on 17 November 2017, which has helped structure a positive bilateral political agenda. Moreover, the priorities of the Swedish Government remain centred on climate and social issues which are opportunities to deepen our bilateral relationship. Lastly, our partnership is particularly close within the European Union in the following fields: climate change, innovation, environmental standards and migration.
Honorary Consulates: Gothenburg, Helsingborg, Luleå, Malmö, Norrköping, Umeå
French community: 7,654 registered and around 2,500 non-registered (2016)
Swedish community in France: 8,066 identified, total estimated at around 20,000 (2012)
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The King of Sweden made a State visit in December 2014, while the French Prime Minister visited Stockholm the next year, in September 2015. The Swedish Prime Minister and Interior Minister took part in the republican march in Paris on 11 January 2015. The Swedish King and Prime Minister also attended the opening of COP21 in December 2015.
Prime Minister Löfven has visited Paris several times for bilateral meetings (22 June 2016, 31 July 2017 and 7 June 2019), while the French President, Emmanuel Macron, made a visit to Sweden on 17 November 2017 for the European Social Summit for Fair Jobs and Growth and to sign the bilateral strategic partnership for innovation and green solutions with Stefan Löfven. The Swedish Prime Minister also took part in the Paris One Planet Summit in December 2017.
Contact between Ministers is very frequent and intense. The latest meetings have been as follows: Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian visited Stockholm on 11 June 2018 to meet Margot Wallström, and Minister for European Affairs Nathalie Loiseau received her counterpart Hans Dahlgren on 18 February 2019. Amélie de Montchalin, Minister of State for European Affairs, has met Mr Dahlgren on several occasions, including on the sidelines of the General Affairs Council meeting of 16 September 2019 and during a meeting with the Europe Ministers of Nordic countries on 31 January 2020.
French and Swedish members of parliament meet regularly (visit to France by a Swedish friendship group delegation in May 2015 and February 2017) and demonstrate the interest aroused by the Swedish model on themes as wide-ranging as the civil service, new energy sources and social issues.
French Ambassador to Sweden: Mr David Cvach (since June 2017)
Swedish Ambassador to France: Ms Veronika Wand-Danielsson (since September 2014)
With €11.5 billion of trade in goods in 2018 (up 6% in one year), including 5 billion in exports and 6.5 billion in imports, Sweden is our 16th-largest trading partner, while France is ranked 10th among its partners. Our market share has fallen however, and we are behind Germany, the Netherlands and Norway, Sweden’s three leading suppliers.
The structural deficit in our trade in goods has grown in the last four years. In 2018, it stood at €1.3 billion, due to the strength of Swedish exports to France (particularly pharmaceuticals and chemicals). France does, however, post a surplus when it comes to services (€432 million in 2017).
Most of our trade centres around the automobile sector, particularly automobile manufacture products which are our leading export (10.2%) and import (18%). Chemicals are our second-largest trading product (one tenth of our imports and exports). While major consumer brands like Ikea and H&M have a major role in terms of jobs and investment, they contribute only marginally to trade flows.
France was the eleventh-largest foreign investor in the country in 2017. It had a stock of €7.4 million in 2018 (up 129% on 2013), while France is the 14th-largest destination for Swedish investment (stock of €5.3 billion in 2018). The country is one of France’s 40 priority destinations for investment. France is the leading destination for Swedish investment in Europe, and Swedish companies, including Volvo, Alfa Laval, AstraZeneca and Ericsson, are very present. Some 470 were present in France in 2018, representing more than 95,000 jobs.
Green growth and information technologies are a key focus of our cooperation, following the signature of the strategic partnership for innovation and green solutions in November 2017, as are sustainable transport, clean energy and smart cities, green finance, the digital transformation, smart industry and start-ups, as well as health and life sciences innovation.
In 2020, Sweden will take part in the Young Enterprise Initiative “Start in France” programme for the first time. Three laureates will spend a week in immersion in France in March 2020, with the support of the Swedish innovation agency Vinnova.
France is the 6th-largest destination for Swedish students, behind the English-speaking countries, Germany and Spain, but is the leading destination for Swedish students under the Erasmus scheme.
Scientific cooperation between France and Sweden involves a considerable volume of exchanges, with numerous ties between laboratories and bilateral research programmes between the universities, agencies and bodies of the two countries, promoted and coordinated in particular by the French-Swedish Research Association (AFSR). Along with 15 other partner countries, France and Sweden take part in the European Spallation Source (ESS) project, a major research infrastructure project dedicated to exploration and study of matter. Construction began in Lund on 30 June 2014. It was to open in late 2019 and to be fully operational in 2025.
As regards culture, French artists are regularly exhibited in Swedish galleries and exhibition centres. Events such as European Heritage Days and the music festival “Make Musik STHLM”, organized jointly by the Institut Français (French Institute) in Sweden and the city of Stockholm, are very successful.
Every year, Sweden invites a great number of French and French-language writers, giving rise to the translation of more than 750 literary works in less than a decade. The Göteborg Book Fair is the 11ᵗʰ-most important fair for French publishers. The invitation of the Nordic countries to the Paris Book Fair in 2011 led to intensified professional relations between Swedish and French publishers. Patrick Modiano and Jean Tirole winning Nobel Prizes in 2014 helped give our cultural and scientific policy greater visibility.
Updated: February 2020