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

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

Protestors hold banners and Ukrainians flag outside Russia's embassy in a the days leading up to the invasion.
Protestors hold banners and Ukrainians flag outside Russia's embassy in a the days leading up to the invasion. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT
Sweden considers expelling Russian diplomats
Sweden has not yet decided whether to expel Russian diplomats in response to alleged war crimes against civilians in the Ukrainian town of Butja. 
“We are looking at this possibility,” Foreign Minister Ann Linde told state broadcaster SVT. “But we also need to stay in place at our embassy in Moscow. That is also important. We are trying to support voluntary organisations so they can still work in the country and also to be in contact with the opposition.” 
Linde said the discovery in Butja of mass graves and dead bodies lying in the street was an act of cruelty almost without parallel. 
Swedish Vocab: motstycke – parallel 
Police to stop mass-booking of passport times in Sweden
Swedish police have altered their passport booking system to make it more difficult for people to mass-book passport times, and thereby worsen the long queues to get an appointment. 
Everyone who books a time now needs to fill in a special box designed to prevent people booking passport times using automated ‘bots’.   
“You need to fill in an alphabetic and or numeric combination in an answer box,” said Magnus Roglert, head of the police’s passport unit. “It’s something bots cannot do.” 
Swedish Vocab: att förhindra – to prevent 

Dairy cooperative Arla restarts sales of Russian kefir 

Swedish dairy cooperative Arla has restarted selling Russian kefir, a loose yoghurt-like drink, in new packaging that does not feature Moscow’s Red Square, but instead features abstract plants which lack any clear Russian element. 

“It is Red Square itself which we think is associated quite closely with the Russian regime that lies behind the war in Ukraine, and that does not good to be associated with,” said Carolina Starck, the company’s communications chief, when product was removed from shops at the start of March. 

The company’s kefir was made in Sweden from Swedish milk and had no connection with Russia beyond the name and the traditional production process. 

Swedish Vocab: att förknippas med – to be associated with  

Stockholm municipality quashes plan to rename street outside Russian embassy 

The naming committee at Stockholm Municipality has chosen not to rename the street outside the Russian embassy to protest the invasion of Ukraine. There have been calls to rename the street Zelensky-gatan, after Ukraine’s President, for instance.  

“You should be quite careful when changing the name of a street. You have to have a good reason for it, and perhaps there should be a problem with the existing name,” Olle Zetterberg, the committee’s chair, told TV4. 

“We do not think you should take a name from someone who is still living, like Zelensky. That’s not what we usually do in Stockholm.”

He said that if politicians insisted on changing a name to make a statement, they should instead rename a part of Mariebergs Park, outside the embassy.  

Swedish Vocab: ett skäl – a reason

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For members


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