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

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 Wednesday
Sweden's Riksbank central bank is expected to raise interest rates today. Photo: TT
Men with foreign names face job discrimination in Sweden: study 
Men with foreign-sounding names face discrimination when applying for jobs in Sweden, a study from Stockholm University has found, which analysed the response rate of 5,641 fictive job applications sent out by researchers between 2014 and 2020. 

The study found that men with foreign-sounding names faced worse discrimination than women with foreign-sounding names, regardless of whether the person managing recruitment was a man or a woman. 

“What we saw was that female recruiters favoured female applicants with foreign-sounding names ahead of male applicants with foreign-sounding names, and that this happened above all in professions which require a higher level of education,” Anni Erlandsson, a sociology PhD at Stockholm University, said in a press release.

Male recruiters, she said, discriminated in the same way. 

Between 2014 and 2020, researchers sent out 5,641 fictional job applications for positions in 20 different professions, where the applicants’ qualifications were identical, but their names and gender were changed. 

Social Democrat support rises after Ukraine invasion 

Support for Sweden’s Social Democrat party has soared since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to a new Ipsos poll for Dagens Nyheter, leaping four percentage points between February and March to 33 percent, the party’s highest polling numbers since December 2015. 

The Moderate Party’s position is relatively stagnant at 22 percent, up from 21 percent in February. Both the Green Party and the Liberal Party are now below the four percent threshold to enter parliament, on three percent and two percent respectively.  

Amnesty slams Sweden’s ‘discriminatory’ Covid strategy 

The human rights group Amnesty has sharply criticised Sweden’s Covid-19 strategy, arguing that those with foreign backgrounds were hit “disproportionately hard” as a result of some of the decisions taken.  

“Discrimination is a big part of the picture in all the criticisms we are making,” Anna Johansson, Secretary General för Amnesty Sweden. “When the Public Health Agency realised that certain groups were being hit harder by illness and excess mortality, they should have reacted much faster.” 

She mentioned the recommendations that people work at home, and avoid public transport as decisions that disproportionately affected people living in overcrowded housing who had no choice but to use public transport. 

Inflation to peak this year after central bank raises rates: state forecaster

Sweden’s National Institute of Economic Research has predicted that inflation will peak in 2022 at 5.2 percent before falling back to 2.8 percent after the Riksbank, Sweden’s central bank, hikes rates as early as September. 

According to the institute’s March report, the Riksbank will probably increase the base interest rate for the first time since December 2019 this September, upping it to one percent until 2024, with further rate hikes likely between 2024 and 2026. 

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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