Sweden has a long tradition of involvement in international cultural cooperation, including in the UNESCO, Nordic Council, and Council of Europe. This work is maintained by both, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Culture, as well as by a number of government agencies, primarily under the Ministry of Culture.
The Swedish Arts Council (Kulturrådet) and the Swedish Film Institute (Svenska Filminstitutet) share the responsibility of being the Swedish contact point for the EU Creative Europe programme. Together, they maintain the Swedish Creative Europe Desk. The Arts Council is responsible for the Culture sub-programme, and the Creative Europe Desk Culture (Kreativa Europa Desk Kultur, web page), while the Swedish Film Institute is responsible for the MEDIA sub-programme, and the Creative Europe Desk MEDIA (Kreativa Europa Desk MEDIA). These responsibilities are financed within the framework of the cross-sectoral programme area, which since 2019 also offers the possibility of a financial loan guarantee for cultural and creative industries. The Swedish Arts Council monitors the distribution of culture-oriented project funds in the EU Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds). In 2019, just over SEK 460 million was allocated to 541 projects with a cultural connection in Sweden, i.e. projects that have “some connection to art forms, media, education or cultural heritage” (Swedish Agency for Cultural Analysis 2020, Swedish Arts Council 2019b).
The Swedish Arts Council represents Sweden in two of the OMC groups (Open Method of Coordination groups) on the European Union’s Agenda for Culture. The objective of these groups is to produce recommendations on cultural areas, as well as identify good examples. OMC is a method of EU institutions to communicate with their member states. It is also a forum for cooperation on issues with no legislation on the European level. Sweden is also represented in other groups, including “Skills and Mobility” and “Cultural heritage”, where Sweden is represented by the Arts Grants Committee and the National Museum of Arts, respectively.
The Ministry of Education and Research is responsible for Swedish cooperation within UNESCO and for the Swedish National Commission for UNESCO. Much of the work on international cooperation also takes place within government agencies reporting to the Ministry of Culture.