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WHAT CHANGES IN SWEDEN

Sweden in 2022: Key dates for your calendar

It's an election year in Sweden in 2022, but that's not the only important thing happening. Here are some dates for your diary.

Sweden in 2022: Key dates for your calendar
Voters drop into valstugor or election cabins in Gothenburg during the 2018 election. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

January 13th: Swedish parliament reopens with leaders’ debate 

The election year kicks off on the Thursday of the second week of the year, with the opening of parliament and a leaders’ debate. Expect the right-wing opposition Moderate, Sweden Democrat and Christian Democrat parties to blame Sweden’s current sky-high electricity prices on the decision to close down two nuclear power stations in 2020, five years earlier than planned, and also to push a hard line on criminal justice issues. 

January 14th: I am Zlatan opens in Swedish cinemas

One of the most awaited Swedish films of 2021 was pushed forward into 2022. I am Zlatan is the film version of the autobiography of the star footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic, ghostwritten by the Swedish journalist and thriller writer David Lagercrantz. Here’s the trailer:

January 31st: Pandemic Law and law on infection restrictions in bars and restaurants expires (if not extended)

At the end of January, the Pandemic Law and the temporary law empowering the Swedish authorities to impose special rules on establishments such as bars and restaurants are both set to expire, if, that is, parliament does not vote through a proposal made in November to extend it.

The law empowers the authorities to, for example, limit the number of visitors, impose reduced opening times, or require other measures to reduce crowding. 

In November, the government proposed extending the law to the end of May. Voting through this extension before the deadline will be one of the more urgent pieces of parliamentary business. 

February 12th: 100 year anniversary of the Vasaloppet ski race

The Vasaloppet, the 90 kilometre ski race from Sälen to Mora, celebrates its 100th anniversary this year with the Jubileumvasan.

Participants will have to dress up in the gear available back when the race began, with wooden skis and tightly woven woollen trousers. The main Vasaloppet race will take place as normal on March 6th. 

Photo: Jubileumvasan

March 12th: Melodifestivalen final 

The grand finale of the six-week contest to decide Sweden’s entry to the Eurovision song contest takes place at the Friends Arena in Stockholm in mid-March. This year’s edition will be hosted by Oscar Zia, who co-hosted last year. It will be the first Melodifestivalen since 2002 not to be produced by Christer Björkman. The new producer is Karin Gunnarsson, who has been a producer on the show since 2020. 

May 31st: Pandemic Law expires 

If parliament does in January vote to extend the Pandemic Law and the law on infection controls in bars and restaurants, they are both set to expire at the end of May. If there’s a requirement they may well get extended once more, however.  

April 17th: Påsk 

Sweden celebrates Easter on April 17th, although perhaps the most fun comes on Maundy Thursday (April 14th), when young boys and girls dress up as little witches and knock on doors in search of sweets. 

This photo shows three Swedish Easter traditions. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

June 2nd: Stockholm +50 environmental conference 

Given the urgency of pushing the world’s nations to up their climate ambitions in time for Cop 27 in November, the 50th anniversary memorial conference for the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, in Stockholm in 1972, dubbed the “First Earth Summit”, will take on more than symbolic importance.

July 9th: 100 years of self-governance on Åland 

On July 9th, Åland, the Swedish-speaking Baltic island and archipelago, celebrates the 100th anniversary of self-governance. The island and the surrounding archipelago are part of Finland, but arguably have closer links to Sweden. The islands are holding a succession of events celebrating their literature, art and culture, which can be found at the Visit Åland tourist page. 

On “Autonomy Day”, as Ålanders call the anniversary of self-government, it is traditional to eat an Åland pancake. Photo: Argus fin/Wikipedia Commons

July 28th: postal voting begins in Swedish election 

From July 28th, Swedish overseas voters can begin sending in their postal votes, marking the official start of voting in the election. 

September 11th: Swedish election 

On September 11th, voting booths open across Sweden for the election proper. Swedes will be voting on whether to give the ruling Social Democrats a third term, or whether instead to empower the centre-right parties to form a government with the support of the far-right Sweden Democrats.

In 2018, the prospect of the Sweden Democrat breakthrough drew feverish coverage from the international media. Will that happen a second time? Will having Sweden’s first female prime minister, Magdalena Andersson, at the head be enough to reinvigorate the Social Democrats, or are they too tired to keep their position? 

While only Swedish citizens over the age of 18 can vote in the national election, for municipal and county council elections, voting is open to anyone of voting age who has been registered as a Swedish resident for three consecutive days before the election day. 

Expect to see makeshift villages of ‘valstugor’ or ‘election cabins’ popping up in Swedish towns and cities from the start of the summer. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

November 21st: COP 27 held in Egypt

The COP 26 climate conference in Glasgow at the start of November, kicked the big issue, nations’ inadequate plans to cut carbon emissions, on to the next year’s meeting in Egypt, meaning that 2022 is the year the ambition to limit global heating to 1.5C will be either narrowly met or missed, probably forever. 

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WHAT CHANGES IN SWEDEN

EXPLAINED: Everything that changes in Sweden in July 2022

New powers to shut schools, a ban on rowdy people in libraries, and more money for the poorest pensioners: There's a lot changing in Sweden this July. Here are twelve of the big things you should know about.

EXPLAINED: Everything that changes in Sweden in July 2022

Schoolchildren (and most adults) on holiday throughout Sweden 

With schools across Sweden finishing the school year in the last two weeks of June, almost all children in Sweden are on holiday throughout July. Most adults in Sweden also take at least three weeks off in the summer, starting either in the first or second week of July. So if you’re not taking time off, be warned: it can be difficult to get any responses from people you work with, either inside your own company, or in other companies in July. 

Almedalen political festival gives boost to election campaign 

The Almedalen political festival on the island of Gotland will take place from July 3rd to July 7th. The festival, started by the Social Democrat prime minister Olof Palme in 1968, is the highlight of the political calendar in Sweden, and is particularly important during an election year. This year, the leaders of all eight of the Sweden’s parliamentary parties will participate. 

The Local will also be in Visby, Gotland’s capital, for the event to report on the main speeches, and also record a special episode of our Sweden in Focus podcast. 

CRIME

New terror law comes into force 

A tougher and simpler terror law comes into force in Sweden on July 1st. The new law removes the limitation period for less serious terror crimes, meaning those suspected of crimes can be prosecuted long after they were committed. It increases the maximum sentence for “associating with a terror organisation” from six to seven years in prison, and it doubles the minimum sentence for “financing, publicly encouraging, recruiting for” terrorism increased from six months to one year. 

Tougher punishment for child rape 

The minimum punishment for those found guilty of raping children has been increased by one year, from two years in prison to three. 

The new law also expands the definition of “making children pose sexually” for photographs online so that it encompasses poses where the child is entirely passive. 

Crown witnesses and better witness protection 

From July 1st, Sweden will bring in a crown witness system which will mean those who testify against their accomplices in a crime or criminal network can receive a lower punishment as a reward. The system, announced in a press release in January, is resigned to help “break the culture of silence” in some parts of Swedish society.  

The new law also increases witness protection, with the location of those who testify by video link in court kept secret. 

Libraries and swimming pools can ban rowdy customers 

From July 1st, public libraries and swimming pools will be empowered to impose a ban or tillträdesförbud on visitors who are disruptive and argumentative. The bans need to be based on an assessment of the risk of crime and of serious harassment, as well as the risk for disturbing the public order. A similar power already exists for those running shops. 

 
TAX AND BENEFITS 
 
Minimum level for guarantee pension hiked by 1000 kronor 

The basic level for Sweden’s so-called guarantee pension will be increased by 1,000 kronor from July 1st, but the extra money will only be paid out to the pensioners affected in August. 

Extra payment for families receiving housing benefit 
 
Families with children who are eligible for housing benefit will receive up to 1,325 kronor extra (€124) each month under a measure brought in as part of the spring budget to help people in Sweden deal with the effects of inflation. About 124,000 households in Sweden are eligible for housing budget. 
 
The extra payment for families with housing allowance will apply until the end of December, and will be set at 25 percent of the housing allowance payment received each month. 
 
Farmers can claim tax rebate on diesel 
 
From July 1st, farmers in Sweden can apply for a tax rebate on all diesel they have used between January 1st and June 30th.  The rebate is part of the support package for agricultural companies the government agreed with the Centre Party in April. 
 
ENVIRONMENT

Sweden to ban all extraction of coal, oil and natural gas 

From July 1st, Sweden is banning all extraction of coal, oil, and natural gas on its territory. The decision, announced at the Stockholm +50 conference last month, has been criticised as being purely symbolic, as Sweden does not currently produce any of these fuels. 

Most expensive electric cars lose their “climate bonus” 

Electric cars which cost more than 700,000 kronor will no longer receive the government’s climate bonus from July 12th, under changes to the so-called bonus-malus system for cars in Sweden. 

In other changes to the rules, cars fuelled by biogas may also be eligible to receive a bonus, while the bonus payment to companies will be capped to 35 percent of the price difference between the electric car purchased and the the nearest comparable conventional car.

The new rules will also reduce the threshold for CO2 emissions from 60g CO2/km to 50g CO2/km, meaning some petrol and diesel cars which were not penalised previously will now start to be penalised.

EDUCATION

Swedish Schools Inspectorate gains powers to shut down schools 

From July 1st, the The Swedish Schools Inspectorate will be able to force municipalities to shut down schools if they fail to implement its recommendations. 

If a school has received an injunction from the inspectorate as a result of serious failings, and then does not implement the recommendations made in the decision, and has shown a lack of ability or willingness to fulfill its obligations, the inspectorate can order it to be closed. 

IMMIGRATION

New rules on sharing refugees between municipalities come in on July 1st 

New rules come into force on July 1st which will see municipalities required to share responsibility for providing accommodation to an estimated 23,500 Ukrainian refugees. The new guidelines have been drawn up to prevent a repeat of the situation in 2015 and 2016, when some municipalities ended up having to house a disproportionately large share of the refugees arriving in Sweden. The motion was voted through by parliament on June 21st. 

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