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

Find out what's going on in Sweden today with The Local's short roundup of the news in less than five minutes.

A ginger cat looks nose to nose at a black dog
Cats will have to be ID-marked and registered in Sweden just like dogs, after a new law was passed in Sweden on Wednesday. Photo: Martin Meissner/AP/TT

Four Russian fighter jets violate Swedish airspace over Baltic Sea

Four Russian fighter jets entered Sweden’s air space to the east of the island of Gotland on Wednesday evening, the Swedish Armed Forces said in a statement.

“Against the background of the current situation we are taking the incident very seriously,” Carl-Johan Edström, Chief of Sweden’s Air Force, told AFP.

According to the Swedish Armed Forces, the violation was brief, but Swedish Jas 39 Gripen jets were scrambled to document and photograph the two Su-24 and two Su-27 fighter jets.

The violation occurred during the day, at about the same time as a joint Swedish-Finnish military exercise in the Baltic Sea.

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H&M halts all Russian sales over Ukraine war

Swedish clothing giant H&M said on Wednesday that it would halt all sales in its Russian stores over the war in Ukraine.

The company said it was “deeply concerned about the tragic developments in Ukraine” and that it stood “with all the people who are suffering.”

“H&M Group has decided to temporarily pause all sales in Russia”, the clothing retailer said, adding that stores in Ukraine had already been closed “due to the safety of customers and colleagues.”

H&M said it was continuously monitoring and evaluating the situation.

Sweden guarantees $50m World Bank loan for Ukraine. 

Sweden has agreed to guarantee a $50m (€45m) World Bank loan to Ukraine, the government announced in a press release on Thursday. 

“By giving a guarantee to the World Bank, Sweden is helping to support Ukraine financially in this economically very difficult situation,” Sweden’s aid minister, Matilda Ernkrans, said in a press statement

Sweden’s ruling Social Democrats see strongest polling numbers in seven years

A new poll from Novus for Sweden’s state broadcaster SVT has found that a full 32 percent of those surveyed would vote for the Social Democrats in a general election, a 2.7 percentage point rise on their previous poll, and the highest support the party has seen since January 2015. 

The poll of 3,825 people was carried out between January 31st and February 27th.

Cats in Sweden to gain same status as dogs

Cats in Sweden will now need to be given ID markings and registered with the Swedish Board of Agriculture in the same way as dogs, after the parliament on Wednesday voted for the creation of a new cat registry. 

The decision was welcomed by Animal Welfare Sweden, which had been campaigning for a change in the law, under the slogan, “Stop the CATastrophe”. 

The new law will come into force on January 1st 2023. 

Sweden and Finland do joint exercises in Baltic Sea 

Sweden and Finland carried out joint exercises in the Baltic Sea on Wednesday, practicing coordination of air and marine defences. 

According to the Swedish Armed Forces, the purpose of the exercise was to improve the countries’ ability to work together at short notice. 

Fighter jets and battleships from Sweden were involved together with the so-called Telekrigsbataljonen, which specialises in electronic warfare. 

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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