Swedish municipalities and regions have independent power of taxation, and almost all income tax goes directly to muncipalities and regions.
They employ almost one third of the Swedish labour force ,and their services make up more than 20% of Swedish GDP.
Several of the Swedish municipalities and regions, all of which are members of the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR), are on the competitive edge in various welfare services.
In the light of the Swedish precidency in the European Union the autumn of 2009, we would like to expose some of them here.
The selection of examples is done to reflect both a geographical and a thematic span. The intention is to illustrate examples from different parts of Sweden, as well as their unique conditions. As a result we have examples from Umeå in the north to Malmö in the south. Thematicly there is an equally wide variety.
Among many subjects there are examples on district heating, ecological tourism and a working-competence centre.
Obviously there are many other Swedish examples that could have been exposed. Wherever possible, we have enclosed references in the text, that with any luck will help to those interested to find more information and further examples.
Please also feel free to contact Karin Flordal at SALAR for further information, phone +46 8 452 7834, e-mail email@example.com
Hopefully, this information will bring inspiration to local and regional authorities well outside of our own country in developing solutions.
Stockholm, May 2009
Åsa Ehinger Berling
Director of International Affairs
Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions