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

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

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
Government ministers and the Public Health Agency's director announced a five step reopening plan for Sweden. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Key points from Sweden’s plan to start lifting Covid-19 restrictions

The big news from Thursday was the government’s announcement of a five-step plan for lifting the country’s coronavirus restrictions. We’ve covered it in detail, but the main things to know are:

  • From June 1st, bars and restaurants will be able to stay open until 10.30pm; universities will be allowed to start on-campus teaching; and the maximum people allowed at events will be increased slightly depending on the event (up to 50 at seated indoor events; 100 at non-seated outdoor events; 150 at outdoor races and sports competitions; up to 500 at seated outdoor events).
  • Further relaxations are set to follow, with preliminary dates of July 1st, mid-July, and September. The exact timings will depend on the pandemic situation.
  • The government did not announce any update on international travel, but information on this is expected to come shortly.

Swedish vocabulary: event – evenemang

Critical healthcare has been postponed due to the pandemic

During the pandemic, healthcare has been postponed even in cases where a delay could have serious consequences for patients, an investigation by Swedish Radio Ekot shows.

Ekot asked 62 hospitals that provide intensive care and received answers from 51. Of the respondents, 15 say that due to the pandemic, care has been postponed that should really have been prioritized.

The same number of hospitals said that coronavirus care currently has a greater impact on other care than at earlier times during the pandemic, though other respondents say the impact is now less or as great as before.

“We had a situation during November, December, last year, where it became very strained and in this case it led to us having to cut back on cancer surgery. We also had some vascular surgery that was advanced and difficult to get in time,” Martin Takac, healthcare director for Surgical Care in Jönköping, told the radio.

Swedish vocabulary: to postpone – skjuta upp

Weather forecast: Weekend sun

It’s been a dreary week, especially in central Sweden, but most of the country can expect sunshine this weekend according to the SMHI forecast.

On Saturday, 15-20C temperatures are expected across large parts of Sweden, and on Sunday the mercury could rise a few degrees above 20C.

“At the start of next week, it looks like it will continue to be warmer with a lot of sun, except from northernmost Sweden where it looks like there will be a bit more cloud,” SMHI meteorologist Moa Hallberg told the TT newswire.

Swedish vocabulary: sunshine – solsken

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

Midday strike deadline, falling property, and PM's Almedalen speech: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

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

SAS unions to call strike at midday if no deal is reached 

Scandinavian airline SAS has until midday on Monday to reach an agreement with pilot unions in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, if it wants to avoid a strike that could see as many as 30,000 passengers stranded each day. 

Talks were extended over the weekend, after a deadline of midnight on Friday was reached without a deal. 

On Sunday, Jan Levi Skogvang, head of SAS’s Norwegian pilot union, said that there had at least been progress. 

“We are working at a good tempo, so there’s at least some movement and good will on both sides,” he said. “That doesn’t mean that there’s agreement on everything. There are a still a lot of points that need to get solved.” 

SAS’s negotiations chief said that the two sides still “stand a lot way from one another”.

Swedish Vocab: en tidsfrist – a deadline 

Swedish PM makes nationalist speech at Almedalen festival

Swedish Prime Minister Sweden’s prime minister went all out with a strongly nationalist message in her speech at the Almedalen political festival, presenting the Social Democrats as defenders of Swedish values the right-wing parties seek to destroy.

“I love Sweden and I’m proud to be Swedish,” she declared, while acknowledging that it was unusual in Sweden to express your love for your country, in such a bold, heart-on-sleeve, way. 

It wasn’t just the country she loved, she went on, but its values, of “thoroughness, duty, and common sense”, of equality, the rule of law, and social trust. 

“We are a country where men take child leave and look after children, a country where women work, and can become prime minister,” she said, to a loud round of applause. 

She then painted a grim picture of the country’s future, “if the right-wing conservative parties get to rule”. 

“Sweden will become something different,” she said. “A Sweden where one group is set against another, one person against another. A country where social divisions grow and polarisation increases, where the number of luxury yachts rises but the number of school counsellors falls, where trust is eroded, both for one another and for society.” 

“The right-wing conservatives say they want to preserve our country, but in reality,” she warned, “they want to attack exactly those things we love about Sweden.”

Swedish Vocab: noggrannheten – thoroughness, accuracy

Property prices fall in June across Sweden 

The price of detached houses and apartments fell across Sweden in June, extending the falls seen in May. According to the HPI housing index put together by the state-owned mortgage lender SBAB and the Booli property website, the prices in the north of Sweden falling 5.3 percent, in greater Gothenburg 4.3 percent and in greater Stockholm 4.2 percent.
Swedish Vocab: i samtliga regioner – in all regions

Sweden refuses to deny deportations to Turkey as part of Nato deal

On Sunday Sweden’s Prime Minister refused to deny Turkey’s claim that it had promised to deport individuals as part of Stockholm’s efforts to join Nato.

Despite questioning by journalists and concerns among Kurdish and Turkish refugees in Sweden, Andersson would not say whether such a commitment had been given to Ankara for it to lift objections to Sweden’s membership.

“I’ve been a minister for eight years and I never talked about what is said in the negotiation room,” she said. “(That) actually puts me in a bit of a difficult situation right now,” she added.

In an agreement signed by Stockholm and Helsinki at a NATO summit in Madrid on Tuesday, the two Nordic countries agreed to examine Turkish extradition requests “expeditiously and thoroughly”.

No promise has been given to actually carry out the extraditions, and Finland and Sweden have since recalled that the process is in the hands of the authorities and independent courts.

Swedish Vocab: i förhandlingsrum – at the negotatiating table 

Swedish PM pledges to ban profit making at free schools

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson has pledged to stop companies withdrawing profits from schools, in what is likely to be one of the Social Democrats’ main campaigning issues in the coming election campaign.

The proposal, one of three measures announced to “take back democratic control over the school system”, was launched on the first day of the Almedalen political festival on the island of Gotland.

Banning profits from schools is an obvious campaigning issue for the Social Democrats. The latest poll by Gothenburg University’s SOM Institute found that fully 67 percent of voters support such a ban.

The only issue is that the Centre Party, whose support the Social Democrats will need to form a government, is likely to block a future Social Democrat government from implementing it, something Andersson acknowledged

“What I know is that there’s a very strong support for this among the Swedish people, but not in the Swedish parliament,” she said. 

Read our story here

Swedish Vocab: ett kryphål – a loophole