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

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 Friday
An anti-war demonstration outside the Russian embassy in Stockholm on Thursday. Photo: Fredrik Persson/TT

Final verdict on Sweden’s pandemic response expected today

Sweden’s Coronavirus Commission, the committee tasked with investigating the response to the pandemic by the Swedish government and other authorities, is set to release its final report today at noon.

Their first report, which looked specifically at the handling of the pandemic in the elderly care sector, was presented in December 2020. Their second report was presented in October last year. It highlighted significant failings in Sweden’s testing and tracing process, labelling its initial response to the Covid-19 pandemic “insufficient” and “late”.

The third and final report is expected to discuss whether Sweden’s pandemic strategy was the correct choice for the country, as well as who should be held accountable if not.

To answer these questions, the commission have looked at how Swedish society has been affected on a larger scale, such as public health, Swedish economy and individual finances, as well as a comparison with other countries.

Swedish vocabulary: final – slutgiltig

Sweden suspends deportations to Ukraine

Sweden has halted all deportations to Ukraine on the back of Russia’s invasion and the increasingly violent war in the region, said the Migration Agency late on Thursday.

“There’s ongoing fighting taking place in several parts of Ukraine and there’s a high risk of civilians being affected by violence in the conflict. It’s difficult to get an exact picture of how the situation will develop in both the short and the long term,” said Anna Lindblad, deputy legal director at the Migration Agency, in a statement.

“We need to gather more information before we can make a new assessment of the security situation and the need for protection,” she added.

Swedish vocabulary: a deportation – en utvisning

Swedish lawmakers give green light to electricity rebate

The Swedish parliament has approved the government’s plan to hand out 7.5 billion kronor to compensate households for record-high electricity bills this winter.

This means that eligible households will get the rebate in March or April.

The compensation will be based on consumption rather than income, with the maximum offered to those using more than 2,000 kWh per month. Households that consume 700-2,000 kWh per month will also be able to get money back, but not as much.

It will be paid out automatically to those who are eligible.

Here’s a full explanation of how much money you can expect to get back.

Swedish vocabulary: a bill – en räkning

Hundreds order Sweden’s crisis and war booklet

The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency’s booklet on how to cope with a potential outbreak of war or crisis has received renewed popularity amid the war in Ukraine.

“If Crisis Or War Comes” is an update of the “If War Comes” booklet last released in the 1980s and first produced during the Second World War. It was distributed to all 4.8 million Swedish households in 2018, following rising tension with Russia at the time.

It details examples of crisis scenarios that could occur in Sweden due to disruptions to IT systems, incidents in the rest of the world, or climate change, explaining how to be best prepared for a possible lack of food, water and communications networks.

Around 1,800 people have now ordered it in the past 24 hours, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency told public radio broadcaster P4 Västerbotten on Friday.

Swedish vocabulary: 24 hours – ett dygn

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

Magdalena Andersson in the US, property prices drop and Turkey's Nato objections. Here's Sweden's news on Thursday.

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

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson to visit US President Biden

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson is in Washington today alongside Finland’s president Sauli Niinistö. The two will visit US President Joe Biden to discuss the war in Ukraine and Turkey’s opposition to their Nato applications, which were handed in yesterday.

“The meeting is an important security policy signal,” Andersson wrote on her Instagram account from Washington DC.

The two Nordic leaders boarded the flight to Washington DC shortly after their Nato ambassadors applied to join the alliance.

At the meeting in the White House today, the delicate security situation in both Finland and Sweden will be discussed. A number of countries, including the USA, have stated that they will support Sweden and Finland in the period before their Nato applications are approved by all member states in the alliance.

A final approval could take up to a year, and Russia is expected to react to the two countries joining Nato in some way.

Sweden and Finland’s decision to join the Nato alliance was applauded by Ukrainians taking part in a demonstration outside the White House.

Swedish vocabulary: stöd – support

Property prices plummet after central bank increases inflation rate

Property prices have dropped after the Swedish central bank increased inflation rates.

At the same time, the amount of apartments on property website Hemnet has increased to a record level, as sellers seek to get their property on the market quickly.

Valueguard’s price index, which measures changes in prices, sank by 1.7 percent in the two first weeks of May in the Stockholm region. In Gothenburg, prices decreased by 1.3 when compared with April.

This is the first property price measurement in May since the central bank decided to increase key index rates by 0.25 percent while also sharply raising their interest rate forecast.

Having said that, there was also a decrease in property prices in April – 0.3 percent for apartments and 0.5 percent for houses.

Swedish vocabulary: en nedgång – a decrease

Turkish president Erdogan urges Nato to ‘respect’ concerns over Sweden joining

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has threatened to block Finland and Sweden from joining Nato, urged the alliance’s members on Wednesday to “respect” Ankara’s concerns about the two countries, which Turkey accuses of harbouring terrorists.

“Our only expectation from Nato allies is… to first understand our sensitivity, respect and finally support it,” Erdogan told his party’s legislators in parliament.

Finland and Sweden submitted a joint application to join Nato on Wednesday May 18th as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine forces a dramatic reappraisal of security in Europe.

Erdogan accused Stockholm of providing safe haven to members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) designated as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.

“We asked them to extradite 30 terrorists but they refused to do so,” he said.

“You will not send back the terrorists to us and then ask our support for your Nato membership … We cannot say ‘yes’ to make this security organisation being lacking in security,” he added.

Swedish vocab: terrorister – terrorists