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

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 Tuesday
Sweden's party leaders at a televised debate. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

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Swedish vocabulary: a suggestion – ett förslag

Swedish party leaders go head to head in televised debate

The leaders of Sweden’s eight parties faced off in a debate organised by broadcaster TV4 on Monday evening. They debated issues such as the record-high electricity prices this winter and whether or not Sweden should invest in more nuclear power.

They also debated crime, with the right-wing opposition demanding so-called visitation zones and Green Party leader Märta Stenevi slamming the proposal as racist. Social Democrat Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said that the government had already tightened punishments for criminals and would continue down that path in 2022. She added that in addition to cracking down on crime, more measures were needed to prevent gangs recruiting youths, such as investing in schools, jobs and social services.

Swedish vocabulary: nuclear power – kärnkraft

Man gets money back after transferring it to the wrong person

A man who refused to pay back 213,000 kronor to another man who accidentally wired the money to his bank account in error has been told by a court to refund the sum.

The man initially claimed that he had not received any money and did not want any further contact. But bank statements showed that he had not only received it, but transferred some of it to his other accounts and used some of it to pay his bills.

Regional newspaper Sydöstran, in south-eastern Sweden, first covered the story.

Swedish vocabulary: a bank statement – ett kontoutdrag

Record number of dogs illegally smuggled into Sweden

Statistics by the Swedish Customs Agency show that in the first ten months of last year, a total of 483 dogs were seized as smugglers tried to bring them to Sweden illegally. That’s 189 more than over the whole of 2020, reports Swedish news agency TT.

“Not long ago we found six puppies being transported in the trunk of a vehicle. When we were about to open the door, they licked the condensation off the wind shield – they were that thirsty,” customs officer Håkan Hansson told TT, warning that potential buyers should be careful when buying dogs online and from abroad at low prices.

Swedish vocabulary: a dog – en hund

Sweden to scrap all Covid border restrictions for EU travellers

From Wednesday it will be possible to travel to Sweden from the rest of the EU without showing a Covid pass, as the country prepares to lift all border restrictions for the union.

The Swedish government at an extraordinary meeting on Monday decided to remove all entry restrictions from the Nordic countries and other EU/EEA countries on February 9th, the same day it will also scrap nearly all of its domestic Covid rules and recommendations. But the non-EU entry restrictions will remain in place for now.

Click HERE to read more.

Swedish vocabulary: to travel – att resa

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

Nato, Nato, and more Nato: Find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

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

Sweden’s defence minister: Nato decision to be taken today

Sweden’s government will meet later on Monday to take the historical decision to join Nato, the country’s defence minister Peter Hultqvist, has told state broadcaster SVT. 

“I can’t say exactly when the application will be sent in, but the decision is going to be taken today,” he said. 

Turkey have voiced their opposition to Sweden and Finland joining the alliance.

Hultqvist said that Sweden was sending a group of civil servants to discuss Turkey’s objections to Swedish Nato membership — something Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday would not prevent Sweden joining the alliance. 

“We are going to a send a group of civil servants who are going to carry out a discussion and have a dialogue with Turkey, so then we’ll see how the issue can be solved and what the discussion is actually about. But the signals we’ve had from Nato are that there’s unanimity that both Sweden and Finland should join.” 

Swedish Vocab: avgör – to decide 

Sweden’s ruling Social Democratic Party backs Nato bid

Sweden’s ruling Social Democratic Party on Sunday said it was in favour of joining Nato, reversing its decades-long opposition and paving the way for the country to submit a membership application.

The turnaround comes amid soaring political and public support in Sweden for joining the Western military alliance after Russia’s February 24th invasion of Ukraine.

The issue has divided Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson’s Social Democrats, with some party members expressing concern that the decision was being rushed through.

The party said on Sunday that if Sweden’s application were approved, it would work to express “unilateral reservations against the deployment of nuclear weapons and permanent bases on Swedish territory.”

Swedish vocab: att vara orolig – to be worried/concerned

Finland confirms it will apply to join Nato as Sweden set to follow

Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö confirmed on Sunday that his country would apply for Nato membership as Sweden’s ruling party was to hold a decisive meeting that could pave the way for a joint application.

The announcement came after Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Thursday they both favoured Nato membership, in a major policy shift prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Today, we, the president and the government’s foreign policy committee, have together decided that Finland … will apply for Nato membership,” Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Sanna Marin in Helsinki on Sunday.

“I have great feelings, of course, this is an historic day. It started in the morning when I visited the memorial service to honour Finland’s fallen heroes”, Niinistö told reporters.

Niinistö said that the decision will secure Finland’s security policy and that it “does not disadvantage anyone”.

Sweden’s foreign minister Ann Linde said the decision would have “great significance” for Sweden.

Swedish vocab: betydelse – significance 

US in support of Sweden and Finland joining Nato

The State Department’s top diplomat for Europe, Karen Donfried, and President Joe Biden have reiterated US support for Sweden and Finland joining Nato, ahead of a meeting between Alliance foreign ministers in Berlin on Saturday.

In a phone call on Friday morning with Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, US President Joe Biden reiterated support for Nato’s open-door policy, the White House said. He had also stressed that Sweden and Finland had the right to decide their own future.

Donfried said on Friday: “The United States would support Finland or Sweden joining Nato should they choose to do so.” A formal membership application by the two countries would be “further evidence of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategic miscalculation,” she said.

Finland and Sweden are “valued Nato partners” and “thriving democracies,” Donfried said. Referring to remarks by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the top diplomat said Turkey’s position must now be clarified. 

Swedish vocab: att stödja – to support