“We’ve already had the opportunity to work together on a number of things, and that’s a reflection of the fact that the United States and Sweden are working together in so many different areas, whether it’s climate, whether it’s COVID, whether it’s on security matters.”
– Secretary Antony J. Blinken, May 19, 2021
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken is attending the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Ministerial Council in Stockholm, Sweden, December 1-2, 2021. During his visit, the Secretary will meet with Swedish officials, including Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Foreign Minister Ann Linde to discuss security cooperation, the climate crisis, human rights, and other global challenges.
A Friendship Built on a Strong Alliance
- The relationship between the United States and Sweden is built on a shared heritage that dates back to 1638, when the first Swedish immigrants arrived on the shores of Delaware. In 1783, Sweden was one of the first countries to recognize U.S. independence, and since then the two countries have maintained a strong bilateral friendship, based on shared values and mutual commitments to promoting global democracy, security, human rights, gender equity and equality, and international development and sustainability.
- The United States and Sweden cooperate closely on European and other regional political and security matters, and work to promote peace and stability beyond Europe’s borders. Sweden is an Enhanced Opportunities Partner of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and plays an active leadership role on the international stage. Sweden is also a member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and participates in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
- Sweden is a top donor of development and humanitarian assistance. Through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sweden is one of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s most important bilateral partners, especially on programs to promote innovation, democracy and governance, human rights of LGBTQI+ persons, and through Power Africa. Along with the United States, Sweden is also a global leader in prioritizing gender equity and equality in its development assistance.
- The United States and Sweden share concerns about the health of our citizens and the global community as we seek solutions to reduce the spread of COVID-19. During President Biden’s virtual Global COVID-19 Summit, Sweden pledged $240 million for global vaccine equity in addition to the more than $280 million Sweden already allocated. The United States appreciates Sweden’s contributions to increased global preparedness to prevent, detect, and respond to future outbreaks, and the restoration of global travel, tourism, and trade.
2021 Chairmanship of the OSCE
- The United States thanks Sweden for its dedicated leadership as the 2021 Chair-in-Office of the OSCE and its focus on addressing the OSCE region’s protracted conflicts, strengthening climate security, defending human rights and democratic principles of government, and promoting gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.
Partnering in the Arctic and Confronting the Climate Crisis
- The United States and Sweden work together closely in the Arctic Council, the premier forum for discussing matters of Arctic governance, which is made up of the eight Arctic states and six Permanent Participants who represent Arctic indigenous peoples’ organizations. The United States envisions the Arctic region as one that is free of conflict, where nations act responsibly, and where economic development and investment take place in a sustainable, transparent manner that respects the environment and interests and cultures of indigenous peoples. We share concerns about increased Russian military presence in the Arctic and agree on the importance of safeguarding sensitive critical infrastructure in the region.
- On climate change, the United States and Sweden are both leading by example, demonstrating a shared commitment to increase ambition under the Paris Agreement and planning how we will meet our emissions goals. Sweden joined the U.S./European Union-led Global Methane Pledge, the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM4C) initiative and committed to doubling its climate financing by 2025. To keep the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach, the United States put forward a nationally determined contribution to achieve a 50-52 percent reduction from 2005 levels in economy-wide net greenhouse gas emissions in 2030, in addition to its goal of a net zero emissions economy no later than 2050.
People-to-People Ties Build New Bridges
- The United States and Sweden share a strong commitment to educational, cultural, and professional exchanges. Overall, there are more than 2,080 exchange alumni from Sweden, and more than 770 Americans have visited Sweden on exchanges. Sweden participates in the Department’s Fulbright Arctic Initiative to support international collaborative research on shared challenges in the Arctic region including through a series of three in-person meetings and individual exchange opportunities. Each year the International Visitor Leadership Program brings Swedish participants to meet with their U.S. counterparts for short-term professional exchanges on a number of issues, including sustainable tourism in the Arctic.
- Select high school students from Sweden will join U.S. and European peers in a virtual Youth Leadership Program on climate change in January 2022 for a cohesive examination of the core concepts of COP26. Sweden also participates in the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship for youth, which focuses on the transatlantic relationship, leadership development, critical thinking, diplomacy, and the media.