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

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 Monday
Picture of the day: Ice skaters on a lake in Sollentuna, near Stockholm, just before the weekend. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Thousands of vaccine doses thrown away in northern Sweden

More than 6,250 vaccine doses had to be thrown away in Luleå, after a power blackout exposed the doses to too high temperatures, reports the TT newswire, citing local media.

However, it won’t affect vaccinations that are set to be carried out in the coming week, a regional official told northern Swedish public broadcaster SVT Nyheter Norrbotten.

Swedish vocabulary: throw away – slänga

Swedish security police respond to criticism over PM’s cleaner

Sweden’s security police, Säpo, said they are looking into a possible need for changing their rules after a cleaner was seized by police at Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson’s house. The woman lacked a valid work permit and had been working illegally in Sweden since receiving a deportation order in the spring of 2020.

Andersson had already moved from her house in Nacka to the official prime ministerial residence in central Stockholm a few days before the incident. Säpo said it would now look into tightening its checks on people working for senior politicians in their private homes.

Swedish vocabulary: security police – säkerhetspolis

Hot, hot, hot! Sweden’s property market in stats

Sweden’s property market was hotter than ever last year, according to property site Hemnet. It said that the difference between the asking price and the closing price of a detached home was 8.9 percent in 2021, the highest since its records began in 2013.

The price of apartments meanwhile increased 7.3 percent from the point they were advertised on Hemnet to the point when the buyer signed the contract and paid.

The increases were the highest in Sweden’s northernmost city, Kiruna: 28 percent for a detached home and 29 percent for an apartment. Apartments were followed by Skellefteå, with a 17 percent increase from asking price to closing price. The tech boom in Skellefteå, on the northern coast of Sweden, has attracted a lot of new arrivals in recent years.

Swedish vocabulary: closing price – slutpris

Swedish royals test positive for Covid-19 – again

Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria and her husband Prince Daniel have both tested positive for Covid-19 for the second time.

Sweden’s Royal Court announced that Prince Daniel had tested positive in a press release issued on Sunday, while Crown Princess Victoria’s second infection was revealed in another release on Saturday.

The royal couple, who are both fully vaccinated, first tested positive for the virus in March last year, and have only mild symptoms.

Swedish vocabulary: mild symptoms – milda symtom/symptom

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

Automatic preschool for three-year olds, Centre Party set eyes on government, Swede on trial in Donetsk and Sweden Democrat U-turn on work permits. Here's Sweden's news on Tuesday.

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

Centre leader Annie Lööf open to minister role in Social Democrat government

The Centre Party would consider minister roles in a Social Democrat-led government, leader Annie Lööf said on Monday.

In an interview with newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN), Lööf also described Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson as the best prime ministerial candidate.

“I believe Magdalena Andersson has the leadership needed,” she said.

According to Lööf, Andersson has “noticeably better openness for cooperation,” than her rival, Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson, although Lööf also underlined the fact that her support is conditional on “policy anchored in the centre”.

When DN asked if this also meant the Centre would be open to governmental positions, Lööf said that the party “would like to be in government with the Social Democrats.”

“That’s presuming policy leans towards the centre.”

Lööf further repeated her previous line that the Centre Party are not interested in working together with the Left Party on a possible budget.

“The Centre Party is a right-wing liberal central party. We will not collaborate on the Left Party on a budget.”

Lööf did not rule out working together with her previous allies on the other side of the political divide, either.

“We are open to continued collaboration over bloc boundaries,” she said.

“But that’s conditional on the future prime minister being receptive to where the political majority are located.”

Swedish vocabulary: att ingå i en regering – to take part in a government

Sweden’s Social Democrats propose automatic preschool for three-year-olds

Sweden’s Social Democrats want to force municipalities to sign three year olds up for preschool if they or their parents have recently arrived in Sweden, in a move aimed at combatting segregation.

“We need a joint offensive to break the segregation which is tearing apart our country,” integration and migration minister Anders Ygeman said in a press conference announce a package of measures on Monday. 

His party, the Social Democrats, want to make it obligatory for municipalities to sign up all children over the age of three for preschool, if they or their parents have recently arrived in Sweden.

“We want more children with bad Swedish skills to start preschool, giving them a better chance of succeeding when they start school,” Ygeman said.

The measure would not be obligatory for parents, who would still be able to turn down a preschool place if offered one.

“We think that lots of parents will take this opportunity and we want it to be combined with outreach measures from the municipalities,” he said.

In addition to this, the Social Democrats want to force municipalities to contact residents who are eligible for SFI (Swedish for immigrants) classes in their area and encourage them to participate in classes.

Swedish vocabulary: bryta segregationen – break segregation

Trial begins for Swedish man in Donetsk

Five men captured in eastern Ukraine went on trial on Monday in a court administered by Kremlin-backed separatists in the city of Donetsk, Russian media reported.

The five — one Swedish, three British and one Croatian — all pleaded not guilty to charges of being mercenaries, according to Russian media reports.

They could face the death penalty under the laws of the self-proclaimed, unrecognised Donetsk People’s Republic.

The next court hearing in their case is scheduled for October, Russian media reported.

Three of the men were captured in the Ukrainian port of Mariupol and face possible execution for attempting to “seize power by force” and “taking part in armed conflict as mercenaries”, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

The other two face charges of being a mercenary and recruiting mercenaries for Ukraine, the news agency

On June 9, the supreme court of the self-proclaimed republic already sentenced two Brits and a Moroccan, all of whom were captured by pro-Russian forces in Ukraine’s industrial east, to death for being mercenaries. All three have appealed their verdicts.

There has been a moratorium on the death penalty in Russia since 1997, but it does not apply in the two separatist regions in Ukraine.

Swedish vocabulary: rättegången – the trial

Sweden Democrat leader: ‘We don’t want unions to control work permits’

The leader of the populist Sweden Democrats party has told The Local that he is opposed to Social Democrat plans to bring back ‘labour market testing’ for work permits, preferring to instead raise the salary threshold.

In an interview after holding his summer speech in his home town of Sölvesborg, Jimmie Åkesson told The Local that while his party believed Sweden’s system of work permits should be made stricter, he was now opposed to bringing back the old system of arbetsmarknadsprövning, or labour market testing, scrapped by the Moderate-led Alliance government in 2008, where labour unions worked together with government and employers to identify jobs and sectors where there is a labour shortage.

“We don’t want the unions to have the power to decide who gets permits to come to Sweden,” Åkesson said. “But we want society, in some way, [to] have to see if it’s needed or not, and exactly how we’re going to do that I cannot say at this time.”

He said he believed “a better solution” than a return of union involvement would be something similar to proposals made by the Christian Democrat and Moderate parties, who want to increase the minimum salary that those seeking work permits are being offered.

Åkesson’s views on work permits seem to contradict what is on the Sweden Democrats’ website, where it still states that the party wants “to reinstate government labour market testing, and a demand for qualifications, salary, and need”. 

Swedish vocabulary: arbetstillstånd – work permit