Digitization has become a priorty for Sweden and Swedish Government. 

“This is the most important long-term issue for Sweden – it is about the future growth and jobs of the future”, says Minister Mikael Damberg to media, “we are in the fourth industrial revolution. The production is changing, the way we treat consumers, business models. Everything is changing”.

Sweden is one of the world’s leading IT countries. We had early developed a powerful broadband internet infrastucture for the entire country. The Internet and broadband/data/IT penetration in population among the highest in the world. Almost everyone has access to high-speed networks.

As an early adopter of Sweden was ranked as the world’s leading IT country for several years in the 2000s. Now, other countries have caught up. Therefore, keep the Swedish government is now developing a new digitization strategy for the coming years.

“We are in the fourth industrial revolution”.

The Swedish authorities have a very advanced level of data relative to most other countries, but there is always room for improvement. The future will demand it. Also the Swedish business community has a very high level of automation and high tech penetration. 

“For business, it’s about new ways to control production systems, creating new business models. The process itself creates new business models. And it changes the relationship between man and machine”,
says Minister Damberg.

If Swedish industry to succeed, the state acts. This is done through an initiative called, ‘Smart Industry’ – a new strategy for Sweden.

“We are far ahead in terms of our digital infrastructure and Swedes are also prone to change. But many other countries are making great efforts,” says Minister Mikael Damberg.

Yesterday the EU Customs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici participated in the EU Trade Seminar at the World Customs Organization (WCO) on Rue de Marche 30 in Brussels. 

Today the EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström visited WCO to participate in a ‘Women in Trade’ meeting.

It was Ana Hinojosa, the Director for Compliance and Facilitation – and a good friend of mine – that had invited Commissioner Malmström to the World Customs Organization for the network meeting. A great initiative. 

It is naturally extremely important for the Customs community to have regular contacts with key people in the global trade environment. I was very pleased and proud to see that our Commissioner visited the WCO.

Commissioner Malmström earlier today on Twitter expressed her gratitude and happiness about having participated in the network meeting at the WCO.

Also Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya has over the years done a lot to raise the profile of the WCO by inviting different decision makers to visit the home of Customs, the World Customs Organization. 

I have spent the last days in my old hometown Brussels in Belgium.

I am invited to speak and participate in a panel on a high-level seminar.

It is always great to be back in Brussels. 

Yesterday I was invited to speak and participate in a panel on the ‘EU Customs – Making a difference in modern trade?’ seminar that was organized by IATA jointly with six other trade associations at the WCO premises.

It was a high-level seminar about The future of trade and how the new European Customs legislation, Union Customs Code (UCC) presents a platform for a more competitive busines environment. Great dialogue and discussions. 

Pierre Moscovici, EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs delivered the Key Note Speech at the seminar.

I participated in a panel with the theme, ‘A vision of Customs as a competitive element of trade facilitation’. 

It was also great to visit my old workplace, World Customs Organization – where I spent five years from 2006 to 2010 as the first elected Director of Capacity Building.  I love this place. 


Yesterday evening Sweden played Netherlands at home in the opening game of the FIFAWorld Cup Qualifyer. 

The game ended 1-1 after Sweden scoring in the first half, a great goal by striker Marcus Berg and Wesley Sneijder equalizing in the middle of second half. 

Netherlands was the better team and had the ball possession and the young, new Swedish team played a good game in defence and went for counter attacks. 

In th group France only got a 0-0 result playing Belarus in Minsk. 

Tonight we will play Netherlands in the FIFA 2018 Soccer World Cup Qualifyer group stage. It is the first game in the new campaign. Sweden is in a very difficult group with recent European Silver medalists France and the last World Cup bronze winners Netherlands. 

We have a new young national team, since four of our best players have ended their national team careers. The most significant being naturally our captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic who has stopped his national team campaign arter breaking all previous records. 

Now it is time for The Next One, John Guidetti, to lead this new team towards success. Guidetti, that normally plays for Celta Vigo in Spanish La Liga, was captain of the Swedish under21 national team that won the UEFA EuroCup last year. 

We also have a new national team coach. Starting with the worst possible opponent, Netherlands – new manager Jan Andersson will have his test. 

The result? It will be difficult for Sweden, even though we normally are strong at home in Stockholm. One thing is sure though, tonight John Guidetti scores…   He normally does.