How life in Skellefteå is influenced by the EU – good or bad?

Many of the regulations decided by the EU affect us in Skellefteå, including the areas of crime, labor, sewage, waste, and many more. These decisions have an impact on us, whether we like it or not. How do you feel about them? Are they beneficial or detrimental? If you're for or against, you should be voting on June 9 (or before!).

Decisions made in the EU affect waste management, the hunt for dangerous viruses, the free movement of labor, aviation regulations, taxes on cigarettes, and septic tanks in rural areas.

Decisions made in the EU affect waste management, the hunt for dangerous viruses, the free movement of labor, aviation regulations, taxes on cigarettes, and septic tanks in rural areas.

Foto: TT

Skellefteå2024-06-04 15:57

EU election

You might think that decisions made in the EU don't affect us in northern Sweden, but nothing could be further from the truth. Here, we have listed some of the biggest issues legislated on by the European Union so far.

Having opinions on past decisions suggests you'll likely have thoughts on future ones too.

That is why you should vote.


The foundation of the entire EU is the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital. The opening of EU borders has facilitated an influx of workers to Skellefteå, filling positions in construction and other lower-wage sectors. 

It's important to distinguish between these economic migrants and those who come to wealthier member countries for social support, sometimes referred to as "EU beggars." 

This free movement of people within the EU is a two-way street, and while the right to travel and work brings benefits, the EU also impacts labor regulations. For instance, the new daily rest rule has posed challenges for certain professions requiring 24/7 staffing.

Many construction workers at Northvolt come from other countries.
A Finnish company is rebuilding the road to Skellefteå Airport, with work underway in the summer of 2023 and the summer of 2024.


Free movement within the EU brings both opportunities and challenges for Skellefteå. 

While it has filled vacancies in construction and other sectors, it has also seen an influx of individuals or even larger gangs involved in theft and burglary. Increased worker mobility raises concerns about human trafficking and immigration violations. 

Additionally, cultural differences in attitudes towards drug use, firearm ownership, and drink-driving pose new puzzles for law enforcement.

Swedish police at the national level highlight the significant beneficial impact of EU cooperation on their daily work.

The foreign company that started construction on the Karlgårdsbron bridge had several safety deficiencies. The Swedish Work Environment Authority stopped work, as seen in the picture, when workers were working on the work platform without guardrails. The picture is from 2022.
A foreign construction company was working on a job in Skellefteå, and the workers who were working on the roof were not wearing safety harnesses.


Free movement allows companies throughout the union to freely submit bids to tenders. Everyone can compete for all contracts.

In Skellefteå, several foreign companies have undertaken construction projects. Contractors building Northvolt’s factory have been notable, as well as the Lithuanian company that started, but did not finish, the Karlgårds bridge.

Foreign companies also invest in Sweden. Here in the north, there has been interest in mining, and currently, there is significant interest in green industries such as wind power.

This mobility is, of course, mutual, and companies from Skellefteå can do business across Europe. Over the years, Skellefteå has become known as a strong export community.

Agriculture is affected by the EU's subsidy system. Previously, it favored intensive, large-scale farming, leading to overproduction and stocks of unsold goods. 

The support is now a farm subsidy provided regardless of what the farmer grows or produces, which aims to make consumer demand the driving force. The support is linked to the farmer complying with the EU's requirements for environmental protection, open landscapes, and animal welfare.

The EU has a significant impact on agriculture and therefore what we eat.


The European Union tackles numerous environmental issues, requiring a coordinated effort from all member states. One prominent example is the Water Framework Directive, established in 2000, which aims to achieve cleaner water across the continent. 

In Skellefteå, this translates to improving the condition of local watercourses, particularly within the Bure River drainage area. This ongoing effort necessitates upgrades to private septic tanks for many rural residents, alongside improvements to municipal treatment plants, with Byske and Bureå facilities being the next priorities.

The Water Framework Directive extends beyond water quality. It also promotes restoration efforts. This includes the removal of old dams to facilitate fish spawning, reevaluation of environmental permits for power plants (though this is currently on hold), and wetland restoration through ditch blocking and liming of acidified waterways. 

Additionally, municipalities hold a specific responsibility to monitor their drinking water, contaminated areas, agricultural emissions, and rainwater runoff. They are also tasked with minimizing dioxin emissions through reduced burning practices.

Many people who live in rural areas have been forced to improve their private sewage systems.
The Water Framework Directive has led to a reassessment of dams and the restoration of waterways. Here is a project in the Risån River, a tributary of the Rickleån River, where stones are being put back. They were once removed to facilitate log floating.

The Waste Directive, adopted in 2008, is bringing stricter waste management practices to Sweden. These new regulations emphasize following the "waste hierarchy" principles.

Firstly, food waste disposal will change. Incineration will be banned, requiring food waste to be either digested into biogas or composted (effective January 1, 2024).

Secondly, packaging reduction is a key focus. Collection schemes will be implemented, with producers bearing the financial responsibility for waste collection and recycling. Sweden expects to see packaging collection readily available near homes by January 1, 2027.

Textile waste reduction is also targeted. To achieve this, mandatory material recycling of old textiles will be enforced. Disposing of textiles in general waste bins will no longer be allowed (starting January 1, 2025).

Finally, garden waste management is being encouraged to shift towards composting to create new soil, rather than incineration.

Packaging must be collected and recycled. From 2027, collection will take place at home on the property.


Ever wondered how goods and people zip seamlessly across borders in Europe? The European Union (EU) plays a crucial role behind the scenes, ensuring a well-oiled transportation network.

Safety is paramount for the EU. They've established common railway safety regulations and even backed the Norrbotniabanan railway project in northern Sweden, a key infrastructure initiative.

 Crossing borders by car or truck? EU standards for vehicles ensure a smooth journey. They also set the rules for driver well-being, mandating breaks and limiting working hours.

Flight delays can be frustrating, but standardized compensation ensures you're taken care of. Safety is a top priority, with strict regulations and EU management of airspace and flight schedules. They even negotiate air traffic agreements with other continents, keeping the world connected.

The EU's influence extends beyond land-based transportation, also impacting maritime operations. Regulations address preventing accidents and pollution, promoting a clean and secure environment at sea. Working hours for seafarers are established, and clear guidelines define passenger rights.

Delayed flight? The rules for compensation have been decided within the EU and are the same for everyone.


EU citizens traveling within the union have access to medically necessary treatment in other member states. Costs are typically covered by their home country's social security system. Under specific circumstances, specialized care options may also be available elsewhere in Europe.

The EU establishes regulations for various health-related aspects, including workplace chemicals, medication safety, patient rights, and disease prevention initiatives.

The EU addresses global health challenges like the spread of dangerous viruses and antibiotic resistance, fostering coordinated responses across member states.

EU regulations ensure the safety of organ, blood, tissue, and cell donations. Additionally, the EU establishes guidelines to safeguard citizens from unsafe healthcare products.

Significant funding (currently €5.3 billion) is allocated for preventive healthcare initiatives. This funding can be accessed by various organizations working on health-related projects.

The EU also prioritizes cancer prevention through measures like increased tobacco taxes and encouraging member states to implement regular cancer screening programs.

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing problem and is being tackled by the EU.
The EU wants to reduce smoking and has done so through higher taxes.
For emergency conditions such as a broken arm, appendicitis, or heart attack, you can receive medical care in another EU country.
PFAS is a chemical that is regulated by the EU.