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.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Newspaper headlines on the Kevin case. The case was a media sensation in Sweden.

Sweden’s government to announce details of defence spending boost 

Sweden’s Prime Minister is holding a press conference on Thursday morning, where she is expected to give details of the boost in spending on defence announced in her speech at the end of last month. 

She will hold the press conference together with Finance Minister Mikael Damberg and Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist. 

Swedish speakers can watch the press conference here.

Swedish vocab: förstärkning – strengthening 

Two brothers receive a million kronor each from Swedish government in ‘Kevin case’

Two brothers who, aged five and seven, were accused of murdering four-year-old Kevin Hjalmarsson, will be given a million kronor each by Sweden’s government, three years after a lengthy second investigation of the 1998 case found that the boy most likely died in an accident. 

The boys were intensively interrogated in 1998 and allegedly confessed, but were never charged. They have had, however, to live with the belief that they were child murderers. 

“When the state makes a mistake, the state must take the consequences and try to put things right,” said Sweden’s justice minister, Morgan Johansson as the compensation was announced. 

Swedish vocab: ersättning – compensation 

Swedish agency deluged with bids for Ukrainian president’s hit TV series

A small Stockholm agency has in recent days received bid after bid for the rights to air the hit comedy series starring Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, a former actor turned wartime hero.

“It’s been very, very busy. All around the world, people have asked for the rights because they want to broadcast it,” explains Eccho Rights co-founder Nicola Söderlund in the agency’s elegant offices in the Swedish capital.

Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, broadcasters such as Britain’s Channel 4, Greece’s ANT1 and Romania’s PRO TV have rushed to join those who have already snapped up the rights to “Servant of the People”, which first aired in Ukraine in 2015.

“I think last week we made maybe 15 deals and we are in negotiations with another 20 countries,” says Söderlund, a poster advertising the series hanging above his desk. “The latest we heard of is Latin America, we’re discussing with the US, Netflix, we’re discussing with many.”

Read our story here

Swedish state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell to join WHO 

Anders Tegnell, the Swedish state epidemiologist who became a hero for lockdown critics in the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, is to step down next week to take up a new post with the World Health Organisation in Geneva. 

Tegnell will be the senior expert in a group coordinating efforts to make the Covid-19 vaccine available to countries without the means to vaccinate their own populations.

“I’ve worked with vaccines for 30 years and have at the same time always been inspired by international issues,” he said in a press release issued by the Public Health Agency of Sweden. 

Swedish vocab: ett uppdrag – a mission/charge/role 

Sweden’s state power company Vattenfall to continue buying Russian gas 

Sweden’s state-run energy company Vattenfall will continue to buy Russian gas in future, despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Russian gas representing about 40 percent of Sweden’s consumption. 

“We do not buy natural gas directly from Russia or directly from any other country for that matter, but instead on market platforms where you might think there is a mix of different suppliers,” Andreas Regnell, the company’s chief of strategy, told Sweden’s state broadcaster SR.

He said Vattenfall supplied the Russian gas primarily to customers in The Netherlands and Turkey. 

Swedish vocab: en leverantör – a supplier 

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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