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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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
File photo of Nato's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Photo: AP Photo/Olivier Matthys

Sweden reaches deal to boost defence spending

Sweden’s government has struck a new deal with opposition parties to boost spending on military and civil defence by three billion kronor a year, giving the green light to the Swedish Armed Forces to order 30 billion kronor in new equipment up until 2030, and to spend an extra two billion as early as this year.  

“It is a real strength that we have reached an agreement,” Sweden’s defence minister, Peter Hultqvist, said after the deal was reached on Wednesday evening. 

The Swedish Armed Forces is keen to boost its arsenal of expensive surface-to-air missiles, air-to-air missiles for its planes, and armoured personnel carriers with tank tracks.

Sweden also plans to spend 800 million kronor extra on civil defence, which will go, among other things, towards boosting the country’s rescue services and renovating bomb shelters.   

The Civil Contingencies Agency has passed the government a wish-list costed at 1.8 billion kronor, which includes strengthening protections for the civil population, including over electronic communication and post, renovating bomb shelters, and repairing emergency sirens.  

The agency also wants to launch a new communications campaign to help individuals increase their own preparedness, and money for municipalities to speed up the restoration of Sweden’s Civil Defence capabilities. 

Swedish vocabulary: försvar – defence

Time to file your tax declaration

Tax declaration season is upon us, and Swedish residents with a digital mailbox should have started to receive their digital tax declaration over the past few days.

Here’s The Local’s guide for the important dates you should remember if you want to get any money back by Easter, as well as the important deadlines you should make sure not to miss.

And here are our tips on how to declare your taxes, as well as what hidden costs you may be able to claim back.

Most often, you will not need to do anything other than confirm the information in your declaration the Tax Agency has filled in for you, but if you work freelance or are self-employed, you may need to fill information about this in yourself.

Swedish vocabulary: deklarera – to declare your taxes

Nato Secretary General: ‘Membership can happen fast if Sweden wants’

Jens Stoltenberg, Nato’s secretary general, believes that Swedish Nato membership could happen fast if Sweden wishes, pointing to Sweden and Finland’s close collaboration with Nato and fact that both countries already meet the alliance’s political and military requirements.

“I can’t say how long it would take, but it could happen fast if you want,” Stoltenberg said of potential Swedish membership.

In discussions on Nato membership, the issue has been raised that Sweden would be extra vulnerable between the time of handing in an application and membership being approved.

But to Sveriges Radio Ekot, Stoltenberg said that he thought it would be possible to find a solution which would give Sweden and Finland military protection during the application phase.

“I’m sure we would be able to find a solution to handle that situation,” Stoltenberg explained, without going in to concrete details on how that would work.

Swedish vocabulary: det kan gå snabbt – it could happen fast

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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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 

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