This morning the EESC’s enlarged Presidency held a thematic seminar on organised civil society, kindly hosted in the Sewdish Prime Minister’s headquarters building, the Rosenbad. We heard first from the feisty Swedish minister for European Union Affairs, Birgitta Ohlsson (on the left in the picture), before our President, Staffan Nilsson, chaired two discussions. The first, on ‘the Swedish model – the role of social dialogue’, was addressed by Christin Johansson, a board member of the Swedish Confederation of Professional Associations (SACO), Per Bardh, Vice President of the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO) and Christer Agren, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv). We learnt a huge amount, particularly about the history that has led to the specificities of the so-called Swedish model. The model relies on such organisations being able to deliver reliably so that collective agreements stick and is clearly also based on a collegial sense of what the economy requires, leading to situations that might seem strange in other countries (such as industry encouraging a high level of trade union membership and an absence of industrial disruption when companies necessarily restructure). The second session was on the role of civil dialogue on the environment and consumer affairs and was addressed by Helena Jonsson, the President of the Federation of Swedish Farmers (LRF) and Örjan Brinkman of the Swedish Consumers’ Association (Sveriges Konsumenter) and was again very informative.