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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

We're trying a new thing! Some members have asked us for a short daily round-up of the news in Sweden, in addition to our other articles and features about life in Sweden. We would love to know what you think of this article. Is it useful and would you like to see it continue, or would you prefer a weekly round-up, or something else entirely? Please email [email protected] to let us know.

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For members


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

Plan to slash peak power demand, Löfven to lead EU socialists, and right-wing bloc agreed on stricter migration: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

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

Sweden’s parties united on plan to slash peak power consumption by 5-10 percent

Sweden’s Social Democrat caretaker government has agreed with the incoming Moderate-led government that the country should take action to cut power consumption at peak times by between 5-10 percent, something outgoing energy minister Khashayar Farmanbar says could “at least halve power prices” if successfully done across the European Union. 

“We stand behind the ambition to reduce consumption,” said Carl-Oskar Bohlin, the Moderate Party’s power spokesperson, after a meeting on Wednesday of the parliament’s Committee on Industry and Trade. “Then there are questions of how that should happen practically in real terms. In Sweden, electricity use is largely dependent on the outside temperature. If we have a mild winter, it will be extremely easy to hit the 5 percent target, if we have a really harsh winter, it might be impossible.”

Swedish vocab: en sträng vinter – a harsh winter

Former PM Stefan Löfven in line to lead Social Democrats in the EU

Sweden’s former prime minister is in line to lead the Party of European Socialists, the umbrella party for Social Democrats in the European Union, after the party’s current chair, Sergej Stanisjev, from Bulgaria, stood down.

“Stefan was the force behind the Gothenburg Social Summit which proclaimed the European Pillar of Social Rights: the landmark step forward for a Social Europe,” Stanisjev said in a press message. “I know he will bring this same leadership and vision to the historic challenges Europe faces today.”

Löfven is the sole candidate for the post, and will likely be voted in at the party’s congress in Berlin on October 14th and 15th. 

Swedish vocab: den europeiska pelaren – the European Pillar

Sweden’s right-wing bloc ‘agreed on stricter migration policy’: report

The four parties backing Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson to become Sweden’s next Prime Minister have already agreed on stricter migration and crime policies, a source has told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

According to the source, who the paper said “had insight into the negotiations to form a new government”, the four parties have also reached agreement on who should be voted in as Speaker of the country’s Riksdag parliament when the role goes up for a vote on Monday.

“We are counting on all parties sticking to [the agreed] line,” the source told the newspaper. “Everything is being negotiated as one comprehensive solution, as a packet, and the role of Speaker is part of that whole.”

“We have agreed that we should have a stricter migration policy, and we have also agreed on having longer prison sentences for criminals,” the source added.

The talks between Kristersson’s Moderate Party, the Sweden Democrats, the Christian Democrats, and the Liberal Party have been continuing for ten days, with most of the negotiations taking place at the Moderate Party’s premises, and precautions taken so that as little as possible leaks from the discussions.

Swedish Vocab: regeringsförhandlingarna – the government negotiations 

Sweden’s union federation warns of increased layoffs after rate hike

The Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO) has warned that the Riksbank’s decision to hike its key interest rate on Tuesday risks increasing the number of people being laid off by companies.

Laura Hartman, the chief economist at LO, said that the union was already seeing the number of people being laid off by their employers increase as Sweden’s economy started to enter a slow-down.

“Unfortunately, it’s looking pretty grim and it’s not been made any better by the interest rate decision,” she said. “We are on the way into an economic slowdown, and the Swedish Public Employment Service has also said that we are on the way into a period of higher unemployment.”

She said that the unions that are part of her confederation had already started reporting members losing their jobs.

“We are seeing that redundancies are beginning to climb upwards. That’s the signal we’re getting from our unions. This is to do with the downturn in the business cycle, which is getting worse. We don’t have any numbers for it, but our latest forecast for June had growth of 1-2 percent.”

Swedish vocab: varslen – redundancies

Sweden’s new immigrant party gets first elected positions

Sweden’s new immigrant party, Nyans, has won council seats in the port city of Landskrona and the Stockholm suburb of Botkyrka, the first elected positions it has won since it was founded in 2019.

Ever since the September 11th election, it has been touch and go whether the party would make it over the two percent threshold to enter the council in the Landskrona, but after the vote count was finally complete on Wednesday morning, the party had gained its first council seat.

The party also won 2.03 percent of the votes in Botkyrka, a tiny margin over the 2 percent threshold. The party’s leader Mikail Yüksel has retroactively registered himself as living in the municipality so that he can claim the seat. 

“It feels super exciting to get the chance to affect and experience how political work takes place on the city council,” the party’s lead candidate in Landskrona, Sead Busuladzic, told Sweden’s public broadcaster SVT.

“You don’t get that much influence with only one mandate, but we want to raise the importance of issues around integration and segregation, and around creating more meeting places where people’s prejudices can be challenged. Too many people live in their own bubbles and don’t meet one another.”

Landskrona was also the city where the far-right Sweden Democrats first broke through in a big way, back in 2006, winning 22 percent of the votes in the municipal election and gaining eight seats on the local council.

Although Nyans (which translates as “nuance” in English) is open to people of all faiths and backgrounds on paper, it particularly seeks to appeal to and represent Muslim immigrants and has called for Muslims to be declared an official minority in the country.

Swedish vocab: den slutliga rösträkningen – the final vote count