War, conflicts and increased geopolitical tensions have put economic security high up on the political as well as the corporate agenda. With the EU Economic Security Strategy soon about to take more concrete shape, it is essential that it focuses on the right things. Whereas it can be pertinent to mitigate risks, its main aim must be to strengthen our economy and our competitiveness.
Swedish businesses are increasingly facing security risks, such as disinformation, cyber-attacks, boycotts and insecure supply lines. However, we also recognise that there is a certain amount of risk inherent in all economic transactions, particularly in international commerce. Not all risks can be politically mitigated at an acceptable cost.
As a rule, it should be up to the businesses themselves to strike the appropriate balance between economic efficiency and economic security, as long as it does not endanger the safety and security of society. However, public policy, both in the EU and the Member States, should strive to create the best possible conditions for business to diversify trade and supply chains of goods, services and data and thus reducing risks associated with economic dependency.
The most important factor that contributes to economic security is our economic strength.
Protection against economic security risks is one thing; protection against economic competition is another. While the first is essential, the second is destructive, as it amounts to protectionism that is negative for the long-term business climate in Europe. The issue of ‘fair trade’ should not be conflated with security.
The most important factor that contributes to economic security is our economic strength. This we can build through a renewed focus on our greatest assets: the Single Market and our open trade policy. We must not allow increased regulatory burdens to hamper European competitiveness.
Here you can find more of our thinking on both the concept of economic security as such and several of the concrete proposals being discussed, such as outbound investment screening and identifying sensitive technologies for trade restrictions: