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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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

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

police at crime scene after shooting in gävle
One person has died after a shooting in the Swedish city of Gävle. Photo: Pernilla Wahlman/TT

Prime ministerial negotiations with party leaders ongoing

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has formally stepped down – but it is not yet clear exactly when his successor will be appointed.

Löfven handed in his formal resignation to the speaker of parliament, Andreas Norlén, on Wednesday. But that doesn’t mean his successor as leader of the Social Democrat Party, Magdalena Andersson, will automatically become the next prime minister.

Norlén is held a series of individual meetings with the party leaders of all the eight parties represented in parliament on Thursday.

This is known as a talmansrunda (talman means speaker of parliament and runda means round or turn), a Swedish word and concept we have become very familiar with in the fragile political balance of the past three years.

After that, he announced that he would give Andersson the first shot at forming a government. She has until 10am on Tuesday next week to report back to Norlén. If she has secured enough support from the other parties in parliament, a prime ministerial vote can be held on November 18th, and if she is successful in that vote her new government can take over on November 22nd.

Andersson will also have the option of asking Norlén on Tuesday for more time.

Swedish vocabulary: prime minister – statsminister

Death after shooting in Gävle

One person died after a shooting in Swedish east coast city Gävle, newswire TT reports. Police received reports from a number of individuals about a shooting just before 2.30 on Thursday morning, and a police patrol subsequently located the victim outdoors.

The police reported early on Thursday morning via their website that the injured individual had died, and have begun preliminary murder investigations.

“We’re still working at the scene. We have closed off the area and are currently searching the area with dogs,” Magnus Jansson Klarin, police press spokesperson, told TT.

He did not want to discuss details about the victim or the events leading up to the incident. “There are people we need to speak to, and we have obviously spoken to some people as well. Before we have finished talking to the people we need to talk to, we can’t disclose anything,” he said.

Two people were at the time of publication being held in connection with the shooting.

Rate of unemployment returns to pre-pandemic levels

According to new statistics from the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen), unemployment dropped to 7.3 percent in October this year. In October last year, the unemployment rate was higher at 8.8 percent, reports newswire TT.

This means that the rate of unemployment is now the same as it was in February 2020, just before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We’ve seen an improvement since the summer of 2020. Restrictions have been removed during the autumn and the labour market has started up again, and demand for labour has been very high,” said Sandra Offesson, labour market analyst at Arbetsförmedlingen.

Professions currently experiencing a demand for labour include salespeople, customer service personnel, as well as restaurant and kitchen staff. Other professions which commonly suffer from a lack of staff such as nurses, home care personnel and primary teachers are also included in this list.

The number of long-term unemployed – those who have been out of work for more than a year – is also going down. October was the third month in a row where this declined, now standing at 184,000.

However, Arbetsförmedlingen is seeing an increase in the number of people who have been away from the labour market for longer – over two years.

Swedish vocabulary: unemployment – arbetslöshet

Scanian geese shortage raises worries for Mårtensafton celebrations this week

Residents of southern Swedish county Scania – Skåne in Swedish – hoping to celebrate Mårtensafton this week with a traditional goose dinner may have to make alternate dinner plans due to a shortage of geese in the county, reports local radio P4 Malmöhus.

Many goose breeders have already sold out of geese, and production levels are lower than in previous years.

“When I started 31 years ago, around 100,000 geese were produced in Scania or southern Sweden,” Tore Svensson from Klasaröds Farm told the radio station. “Now it’s down at, maybe, 15,000,” he continued.

The celebration of Mårtensafton is in honour of Saint Martin of Tours, a Roman soldier born around the year 316 who deserted the Roman army due to his Christian faith and established the first monastery in Gaul. He was later canonised as a Christian saint.

St Martin is said to have resisted his election as bishop by hiding in a goose pen. The honk of the birds eventually revealed his location and forced him to take the bishop’s office. Logically, he asked the townspeople to slaughter a goose once a year and eat it as a form of revenge. As you do.

Swedish vocabulary: goose – gås

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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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

New moves towards Nato, Ukrainians to Lund, and a fall in online sales. Find out what's going on in Sweden, with The Local's short roundup.

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

Left-wing Aftonbladet newspaper backs Nato membership

The Aftonbladet newspaper, which describes itself as reflecting an “independent Social Democrat” viewpoint, has switched sides on Nato, with the newspaper’s chief political editor Anders Lindberg arguing in an editorial that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine makes membership of the security organisation necessary. 

“Vladimir Putin’s war demonstrates that we need to join Nato to guarantee Sweden’s security,” Lindberg wrote in an article on Wednesday.  

“I have never previously supported Swedish membership of Nato,” he explained. “On the contrary, I have argued that non-alignment, a strong national defence, and a pragmatic foreign and security policy has worked extremely well. It has kept us out of war and promoted our national interests.”  

But he said that Russia’s invasion had created a “security deficit in Northern Europe”. 

“When I read the arguments for continued military non-alignment, I cannot see any answers to the question of how we should compensate for this deficit,” he wrote. 

Swedish Vocab: en underksott – a deficit 

Finnish parliament to hold historic Nato debate 

The Finnish parliament is to hold a historic five-hour debate in parliament on Wednesday afternoon, which if it backs Nato membership, will make Nato membership for Sweden much more likely. 

The key will be the position taken by the Social Democrats, the part led by Prime Minister Sanna Marin, and also of the Centre Party, who say they will back Nato membership if the government as a whole does. 

The debate starts at 1.15pm Swedish time. 

Swedish Vocab: en besked – an indication/statement

‘No evidence riots result of foreign influence operation’

The new Swedish Psychological Defence Agency said on Wednesday that there was no evidence the riots over the weekend were encouraged by overseas powers. 

“At present we do not see any ongoing inappropriate influence operations against Sweden,” said Mikael Östlund, the communications chief at the Swedish Psychological Defence Agency. 

Police on Monday said that ahead of the riots over the Easter weekend, they had seen encouragement coming from overseas social media accounts. 

“We know that they is information about encouragement to commit violence against police officers, which has been orchestrated overseas,” said Jonas Hysing, the police officer leading the response to the riots, on Monday. ¨

Swedish vocab: påverkanskampanj – influence operation 

Lund wants to recruit more Ukrainian students 

Lund University wants to make it easier for students from Ukraine to study in Sweden, and has signed an exchange agreement with the Taras Sjevtjenko University in Kiev, it announced in a press release. There were ten Ukrainians studying in lund before Russia’s invasion, and the university aims for that number to increase and for those who are studying to be offered grants. 

Swedish vocab: att locka – to attract 

Swedish PM: ‘Police right to allow Paludan to burn Koran’
 
Sweden’s Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson, has said that the police decision to allow Danish far-Right activist Rasmus Paludan to hold
a Koran-burning demonstration was correct under Sweden’s strong freedom of expression laws, and that, equally, those opposed have a right to mount a counter demonstration. 
 
“You have the right to demonstrate against it – but peacefully. What we’ve seen is something totally different, and it seems, as police are saying, that there have also been criminal gangs behind this.” 
 
“It’s important,” she added, “that those responsible are arrested and prosecuted.” 
 
She said the pictures of the riots had been “terrible”. “I have of course had a lot of thoughts about the police officers who were wounded.”
 
Swedish vocab: yttrandefriheten – freedom of expression
 
 
E-commerce falls from pandemic peak in Sweden

Revenues from e-commerce sites in Sweden fell 17 percent in March compared to the same month last year, according to the Swedish Trade Federation, with all the signs being that sales will decline this year compared to 2021.  

“The growth in e-commerce is flattening out, but it’s also a fact that the average purchase level in March 2022 was still 70 percent higher than just before the pandemic. The relatively high revenues from e-commerce are shadowed by the record year we saw in 2021,” said Johan Davidson, the trade body’s chief economist. 

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