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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
A person walking through the snow in Solna north of Stockholm. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Swedish response to Russia’s recognition of Ukrainian territories

“Strongly condemn Russia’s recognition of the non-government controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine as independent entities. A blatant violation of international law and of the Minsk agreements,” tweeted Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde, joining several leaders in condemnation as Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday recognised the territories and ordered troops into eastern Ukraine.

Amnesty International has previously warned of a humanitarian disaster and that large numbers of Ukrainians may seek refuge elsewhere. Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said last week that the main responsibility for helping refugees rested on other countries, not Sweden, which received 163,000 asylum applications in 2015.

Swedish vocabulary: a violation – en kränkning/ett brott

Sweden recommends new Covid vaccine

The Swedish Public Health Agency now recommends giving the Covid vaccine Nuvaxovid, by Novavax, to people aged 18 and older.

Nuvaxovid is a protein-based vaccine, which is different from the mRNA vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer, and the viral-vectored vaccines by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson (Jansen). The method used has been tried and tested for years – vaccines against both hepatitis B and human papillomavirus use similar techniques.

People who had an mRNA vaccine as their first two doses will primarily be issued an mRNA vaccine as their booster dose too, but the Public Health Agency states that they could also receive the Nuvaxovid vaccine as their third dose, if they prefer.

More than one million adults in Sweden have still not been vaccinated.

Swedish vocabulary: a protein-based vaccine – ett proteinbaserat vaccin

Warning of icy roads after blizzard batters Sweden

An orange weather alert for snow and strong winds was lifted in central Sweden on Tuesday morning, after the blizzard wreaked travel chaos on the region on Monday.

But the Swedish Transport Administration warned that roads may be slippery today, after temperatures dropped overnight with a lot of slushy snow freezing on the roads.

This is especially in the region around Stockholm, Uppsala, Gävle and Örebro, where traffic accidents as a result of the weather may also lead to long queues and delays.

Swedish vocabulary: weather – väder

What’s next for the Covid pandemic in Sweden?

The Swedish Public Health Agency believes that the spread of Covid-19 has peaked and will continue to decrease this spring, but a second scenario warns healthcare services to be prepared in case a new virus variant appears.

The new scenarios presented by the Public Health Agency are not a prognosis, but are meant as a tool for healthcare services to plan for the coming months.

Scenario 0, which the agency believes is the most likely, is that the spread of infection will continue to decrease to a low level, where it will remain until the summer.

The agency’s second scenario, scenario 1, plans for a hypothetical and infectious new variant of the virus spreading from around March 20th. In this scenario, the spread of infection would instead increase during spring 2022, reaching a peak in mid-May.

Read more HERE.

Swedish vocabulary: to decrease/increase – att sjunka/öka

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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