Sweden?s economy grows in second quarter

Sweden’s gross national product (GNP) grew by 2.2 percent in the second quarter of 2005 compared with the same period in 2004.

Preliminary figures from Statistics Sweden also showed that GNP for the period was up 0.6 percent on the first quarter of 2005.

According to Dagens Nyheter, the figures were better than economists had expected.

Higher consumer spending accounted for more than half of the increase. This figure was up by 2.7 percent overall, with car purchases up 4 percent, and high street sales up 6.9 percent.

The figures also showed that both exports and imports rose between April and June, with imports rising more quickly than exports. Production was up 2.8 percent, while the number of hours worked increased by 1 percent, boosted mainly by booms in construction and manufacturing.

Cecilia Hermansson, economist at Förenings Sparbanken, told Svenska Dagbladet that domestic consumption was driving growth, but said that it would be some time before employment figures started to reflect the success of the economy.

“It is important that investments have increased, but strong growth over a longer period will be needed before employment picks up.”

Front page photo: Bo Lind; Copyright: Swedish Travel and Tourism Council;


‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers.