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

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 on Thursday
The Old Parliament House lit up on Wednesday to mark 100 years of equal voting rights in Sweden. Photo: Lars Schröder/TT

Care home bosses allowed their families to be vaccinated before staff

The bosses of several care homes have offered their family members the vaccination against Covid-19 before the care home staff. Currently only the most clinically vulnerable people aged over 70 and either resident in care homes or receiving at-home care are eligible for the vaccine in Sweden, along with staff working in direct contact with these people and those sharing a household with them.

After one such case was reported in a Sörmland care home last week, an internal check in Eskilstuna uncovered three other cases of care home bosses allowing their family to skip the queue, reports public broadcaster SVT.

The municipality's press spokesperson told public broadcaster SVT: “It is about very few cases in the grand scheme of things, but that does not excuse it.”

Swedish vocabulary: few – 

A staff member at a Swedish hospital receives a Covid-19 vaccine. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Sweden's MPs got a 1,500 kronor pay rise this year

Swedish members of parliament saw their pay increase to 69,900 kronor per month after a 1,500-kronor increase at the start of the new year.

Since 1994 the salary has risen from 26,500 kronor, which is around a 160 percent rise (or 145 percent if you exclude certain benefits which were transferred to the pay) compared to the 125 percent rise the average worker has seen over the same period.

Swedish vocabulary: pay rise – löneförhöjning

Parliament pictured in 2019. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Gothenburg to test Malmö's 'Ceasefire' scheme against gang crime

Gothenburg plans to try out the 'Sluta Skjut' (Ceasefire) programme, an anti-gang violence strategy first developed in the US, after promising results  in Malmö which first launched it in 2018.

The method involves 'call-ins' where known or suspected gang members attend meetings with police, social workers, civil society, the family of gun-crime victims, and others. They are then offered help leaving gang life and warned that if they continue to engage in gun crime, they risk being the subject of intense focus of the police and other authorities.

“It is positive that we are getting the chance to do this, but we should have reasonable expectations about it solving gang problems,” Gothenburg's police chief told Dagens Nyheter.

Swedish vocabulary: gang – gäng

Photo: Emma-Sofia Olsson/SvD/TT

Finland closes border with Sweden

In an effort to shield itself from mutated Covid-19 variants, Finland on Wednesday closed its borders to European arrivals, including its Nordic neighbours.

The travel ban will last until February 25th. Only essential travel for work or other reasons, such as healthcare and freight transport, will be permitted.

Swedish vocabulary: border – gräns

File photo: AFP

Sweden halts mink breeding over coronavirus concerns

Sweden has announced its decision to ban mink breeding throughout 2021 after several cases of the coronavirus were found at mink farms, but stopped short of culling its minks as Denmark decided to. 

The Scandinavian country confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus in a mink in October 2020 and during the autumn the virus was confirmed at 13 out of the 30 mink farms around the country. But the mutated coronavirus variant found in Denmark was not reported in Sweden.

Swedish vocabulary: to ban – förbjuda

Photo: Patric Söderström/TT

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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