State Visit of the French President Emmanuel Macron in Sweden
On January 30th and 31st, 2024, HM the King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustav, invited the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, and his wife, Brigitte Macron, to a State Visit to Sweden. This event allowed both countries to reassert and strengthen an already tied relationship.
A State Visit crowning a historical relationship
The ties between Sweden and France have been forged years ago by many enthusiasts who saw the other country’s assets and were able to seize them. From the earliest ages with trades, then by supplying military resources during conflicts or even by sharing a love for arts, France and Sweden have been committed to cementing their friendship. The last State Visit from France was in 2000 with President Jacques Chirac. Since then, both countries have never stopped working together, as illustrated by the strategic partnership for innovation, digitalisation and green solutions signed in 2017. Today, the two countries benefit from a long-standing, broad and excellent bilateral relationship. A collaboration that is notably driven by dynamic bilateral investments.
Sweden is the historic leader of Nordic investments in France; major Swedish companies such as Ikea, Volvo and H&M account for almost 20% of Swedish investment in France. Sweden is also the first Nordic employer in France, with over 600 Swedish companies employing 95,000 people.
On the other hand, numerous French companies settled in Sweden, such as Ubisoft, Schneider Electrics or Pernod Ricard, which purchased Absolut Company for €5.6 billion in 2008, making it the most significant investment ever made in Sweden by France. Ultimately, the Franco-Swedish partnership benefits from complementary strengths that foster growth in both countries.
Business France Nordics supported a delegation of 12 SMEs
During the State Visit, Business France accompanied and guided 12 French small and medium size businesses: 15-1 DIFFUSION, Bloomflow, CIMEL, Ethikis, FAAR Industry, Groupe Holder, HandSome, Javelot, Metroscope, Qarnot, TECHMETA, Terre de Couleurs.
Welcomed at the Business France office in Stockholm, they were given a presentation on the Nordic market by our team, displaying opportunities and key figures of their sector. Ewa Fallenius, director of the French Chamber of Commerce in Sweden, provided an overview of the local business culture and some legal advice on contracts was granted by Jacques Zander, Senior partner of Franco-Swedish law firm Eurolawyers. Our experts also organised one-to-one meetings for each of the 12 companies to allow them to meet potential partners and key actors of the ecosystem.
The delegation also had the opportunity to attend key events of the State Visit, such as the French Community Reception, where President Emmanuel Macron highlighted the importance of French companies developing their businesses in Sweden. This was also the perfect occasion to network with other French representatives who are already well-established in the Nordic countries. They also had the chance to participate and meet the CEOS of some of the most prominent Swedish companies at the Business Forum.
Photo by Klara Théot / Business France Nordics
Swedish-French Business Forum to highlight Franch & Swedish synergies
President Emmanuel Macron, King Carl XVI Gustav, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel attended the Swedish-French Business Forum at Stockholm City Hall organised by Business Sweden. The Heads of State emphasised the importance of continuous collaboration between the two countries to strengthen Europe’s competitiveness. Over 250 French and Swedish C-levels gathered to discuss strategic topics. Two panels have been punctuating this summit:
- Innovation, Competitiveness and Reskilling: has been discussed in the presence of French organisations, MDBA, Euronext, and Ramsay santé. They exchanged with Swedish companies Fagerhult, Ericsson, and INGKA.
- Green transition enabled by innovation and collaborations: Airbus, Neoen, and Keolis were present as French panellists with Vattenfall, Exergi, and Essity. They focused on decarbonisation and sustainability.
Following the forum, a networking lunch allowed Swedish and C-levels to expand their network and share their expertise and skills. Numerous partnerships between French and Swedish companies have also been signed in a wide range of sectors, including space, energy, the environment, defence and the economy. They will boost business relations between the two countries while boosting Europe’s competitiveness.
A strategic partnership bringing Franco-Swedish ambitions to a European scale
Over the past decades, France has been participating in extending cooperation with Sweden’s ecosystems as they share a vision in which technology and innovation are the cornerstones of sustainable development. The French President and the Swedish Prime Minister signed a Strategic Innovation Partnership for Sustainable, Digital and Resilient Societies at Rosenbad, setting new shared guidelines for an increasingly cohesive relationship. France and Sweden stressed the importance of competitiveness and energy transition and intend to pursue these objectives together. Along with these commitments, they wish to collaborate more closely in defence in a global context of rising geopolitical tensions, enabling them to assert their role as safeguards of European security.
More than a two-day event, the benefits of this State Visit will be felt over time as it was a time for valuable exchanges, increasing the opportunities for long-lasting partnerships. The overall success of this visit demonstrates that Sweden’s and France’s destinies are intertwined and collide for the better when brought together.
Photo by Klara Théot / Business France Nordics ; Andreas Sundom / AXL Media