On May 19, 2022, the Swedish parliament passed a proposal to direct the Swedish government to take measures regarding Sweden’s reliance on Russian energy by, among other things, arguing for requiring “origin labeling of fossil energy” (ursprungsmärkning av fossil energi) in the European Union (EU). In addition, the parliament instructed the government to investigate the legal and practical possibilities of eliminating all Russian energy imports by first determining how much energy Sweden imports from Russia.
The proposal (utskottsinitiativ) had been introduced by the parliamentary Committee on Industry and Trade (Committee Report, Näringsutskottets betänkande 2021/22:NU27) under chapter 9, section 16 of the Riksdags Act (Riksdagsordningen (SFS 2014:801)), which provides that a parliamentary committee can bring proposals before the parliament on issues that fall under the committee’s expertise.
The committee proposal was a direct result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with the committee stating in its report that “[i]t has been more than two months since Russia initiated a large-scale armed attack against Ukraine. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is unprovoked, illegal, and indefensible, and constitutes huge suffering for the Ukrainian population.” (Committee Report at 7.)
The committee acknowledged that the extent of Swedish dependence on Russian energy is unknown, as not all energy imported into Sweden has a known origin and not all energy coming from Russia is directly imported from Russia. Figures presented to the committee suggest that typically 8% of Swedish crude oil imports originate in Russia, whereas 30% of liquefied natural gas imports in 2021 originated in Russia. The committee also noted that the Kommerskollegium (Swedish National Board of Trade) had reported that Swedish imports of Russian energy decreased 59% in March 2022 compared to March 2021. Nevertheless, the exact figures remain unknown. The committee argued:
The government should therefore investigate what is imported today and thereafter evaluate different alternatives that are legally and practically possible regarding urgent and more long-term measures in order to ensure Sweden’s energy supply. This investigation includes considering stopping the direct importation of Russian energy nationally, in particular fossil fuels. (Committee Report at 8.)
Specifically, the committee directed the government to “drive the issue that the EU should implement a framework for origin labels on fossil energy that primarily refers to the fossil energy’s geographical origin.” (Committee report at 1.)The vote in the parliament to adopt the committee proposal was decided by acclamation.