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Today in Sweden: A round-up of the latest news

Find out what's going on in Sweden today with The Local's short round-up of the news in less than five minutes.

Today in Sweden: A round-up of the latest news
Interior Minister Mikael Damberg announces plans for a stronger civil defence system. Photo: Amir Nabizadeh / TT
No no-confidence vote as union negotiations resume
Government negotiations with trade unions over controversial hiring and firing laws are back underway after an earlier collapse.

There could be a lot at stake here. Sweden's Employment Protection Act is currently under review, and the Left Party, unhappy with the proposals, has found unlikely allies in the right-wing Moderates, Christian Democrats and Sweden Democrats. Together they would have enough numbers to push through a no-confidence vote in the government, risking a government collapse and snap election. Sjöstedt has said he will not follow through on the threat of a no-confidence vote while the negotiations are underway.
Swedish vocabulary: employment law – arbetsrätt

Left Party leader Jonas Sjöstedt. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Sweden to boost civil defence to cope with three months of war or crisis
The Swedish government has presented new proposals for civil defence, with the aim of building up preparedness so that the country could cope with war or another crisis for at least three months. That includes doubling the number of available healthcare beds, providing training for staff, making transport routes secure, stockpiling food and medicines, and reviewing the need for shelters.
But this is a long-term project. In the early 2000s, Sweden halted a lot of its work on crisis preparedness, including building fallout shelters for example, before re-starting in 2015, and Interior Minister Mikael Damberg said it would take years to reach the desired level of preparedness. 

Swedish vocabulary: defence – försvar

The entrance to one of Sweden's shelters. Photo: Holger.Ellgaard/Wikimedia Commons

Coronavirus excess mortality in Sweden not unusually high, but lasted a long time

Excess mortality, a measurement of how many more people died in a specific time period compared to the same time historically, was not highest or lowest in Sweden compared to other countries, a new study shows. But it lasted for a much longer time. 

The study by researchers at Imperial College London, published in Nature Medicine Journal, tracked all recorded deaths in 21 countries from mid-February to the end of May. Across all the countries, mortality during this period was 18 percent higher than the historical average.

Researchers divided the countries into four groups: those with no detectable excess mortality (which included Norway, Denmark and Finland); those with a low level of excess mortality, those with a medium level, and those with a high level. Sweden was in the so-called “medium impact group”, while the countries with the highest excess mortality were Belgium, Italy, Spain, Scotland, England and Wales. But Sweden, together with England and Wales, had excess mortality for the longest period of time.

Swedish vocabulary: mortality – dödlighet
Ikea and H&M launch sustainability initiatives

Swedish flatpack giant Ikea has launched a counter-promotion to Black Friday. In an 11-day scheme across 27 countries this winter, it will buy back used furniture from customers to resell – and pay up to 50 percent of the original price. Meanwhile, one Stockholm branch of H&M now has a machine that will recycle customers' old clothes into fibres for new garments right there in the store. 

Swedish vocabulary: recycling – återvinning

Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

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For members


Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Right bloc strikes government deal, Sweden Democrat to lead Sweden in OSCE, Russia's Nord Stream 'bewilderment', and inflation nears 10 percent: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Moderate leader strikes government coalition deal

Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson has completed his deal with the Sweden Democrat, Christian Democrat and Liberal parties, and will announce it at 10am on Friday, state broadcaster SVT has reported.

According to a story published at close to 11pm on Thursday night, the four parties will hold a press conference at 10am where they will lay out the details on the new government’s plans to reform Sweden over the next four years.

The agreement contains both policy details and details of which parties will be part of the coalition and how they will work together.

After the press conference, at 11am, Kristersson will visit the parliament’s Speaker Andreas Norlén to inform him that the deal is complete, after which the Speaker will call a parliamentary vote on Kristersson as prime minister, probably for Monday.

Swedish vocab: en överenskommelse – an agreement 

Far-right politician appointed to lead Sweden in OSCE

One of the leading politicians in the far-right Sweden Democrats has been appointed to lead Sweden in the OSCE, a body that monitors elections and seeks to bolster security in Europe.

Björn Söder, one of the so-called ‘gang of four’ who transformed the Sweden Democrats, has been appointed chair of the Swedish delegation of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

The OSCE was founded in Helsinki in 1975 as a forum for discussion between the Western Bloc and Eastern Bloc and gained its current name in 1995.

Söder has faced criticism for saying in 2018 that in his opinion members of Sweden’s Sami and Jewish minorities were not Swedish. “They are recognised as minorities because they are not Swedish,” he argued, stressing that ethnicity and citizenship were two different concepts.

Many had expected the Sweden Democrats to put Söder forward as deputy speaker of the parliament, a position he held between 2014 and 2018, but the party instead nominated his less controversial colleague Julia Kronlid.

Swedish vocab: valobservatör – election monitor

Russia aggrieved at Germany, Denmark and Sweden over Nord Stream probe

Russia’s foreign ministry said Thursday it had summoned envoys of Germany, Denmark and Sweden to express “bewilderment” over Moscow’s exclusion from an investigation into leaks on the Nord Stream pipelines.

Multiple leaks were discovered on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines connecting Russia to Germany, further raising political tensions already sky high since the Kremlin invaded Ukraine in February. All four leaks were located near Danish island Bornholm.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the leaks were an act of “international terrorism” that would benefit the United States, Poland and Ukraine.

Both Moscow and Washington have denied responsibility for the leaks, which were discovered in late September. Germany, Sweden and Denmark have formed a joint investigation unit to probe the apparent sabotage.

“The heads of the diplomatic missions of Germany, Denmark and Sweden in Moscow have been summoned to the Russian foreign ministry in recent days,” the Russian ministry said in a statement.

Swedish vocab: att kalla upp diplomater – so summon diplomats

More rate hikes on cards as Swedish inflation nears 10 percent

Inflation in Sweden hit a higher than expected 9.7 percent in September, making it likely that the country’s central bank will have to hike interest rates even more rapidly.

In a press release issued on Thursday morning, Statistics Sweden blamed “higher electricity prices and higher prices for groceries and alcohol-free drinks” for driving price increases over the month.

The rise was higher than market expectations of about 9.3 percent, judging by a survey carried out by Bloomberg, a financial news service.

The goods that saw the highest price increases were bread and other products made from grain, and coffee, the agency wrote. 

“This is high, well above the Riksbank’s target. That indicates we will see continued big [rate] hikes,” Annika Winsth, chief economist at Nordea, told the TT newswire. 

She said that it was likely now that the 50 point rate rise planned for November would be increased to 75 points. 

“Both households and companies need to be prepared for rates continuing to rise,” she said. 

Swedish vocab: att rusa – to soar (literally “rush”)