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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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

Sweden's terror threat, a new poll on Nato, Paludan's sights on parliament and work permit laws are some of the main news stories from Sweden on Thursday.

Today in Sweden: a roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Rasmus Paludan in Denmark on Tuesday April 19th, where he held a koran-burning demonstration in Tårnby, south of Copenhagen. Photo: Martin Sylvest/Ritzau Scanpix/TT

Koran burnings could raise Sweden’s terror threat

After Rasmus Paludan’s Koran burnings in a number of Swedish cities over the Easter weekend, Sweden has been identified by multiple countries as a country where offences towards Islam are permitted.

Actions such as this may affect the terror threat against Sweden, according to NCT, Sweden’s national centre in charge of analysing the terror threat against the country.

“We’ve seen in the past that perceived violations can act as a driving force in the intention to carry out terror attacks,” head of the centre, Ethen Limén, told TT newswire.

The terror threat against Sweden remains at level three on a five-level scale, NCT confirm in their new yearly analysis. This means that an attack could occur.

The fact that Sweden is linked to events which can be seen as offensive towards Muslims or Islam is one example of a factor which could increase the risk of inspiring terror attacks, according to NCT.

After Paludan’s Koran burnings over Easter, news spread over the world and the events have been condemned by a number of countries with large Muslim populations including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, according to newspaper DN.

Swedish vocabulary: terrorhot – terror threat

Majority of Swedes want to join Nato

For the first time, a majority of Swedes are in favour of Sweden joining Nato, according to a new Novus poll carried out on behalf of SVT.

Just one week ago, 45 percent of Swedes were in favour of membership. That figure has now increased to 51 percent.

Novus’ poll was carried out after Finnish prime minister Sanna Marin visited Stockholm, holding a joint press conference with Swedish prime minister Magdalena Andersson.

Finland appears close to saying yes to Finnish membership of Nato, which could also increase the chances of Sweden joining the alliance. 

“64 percent of Swedes want to join if Finland do,” Novus’ CEO Torbjörn Sjöström told SVT.

According to Marin, a Finnish answer on the question of Nato membership can be expected “within weeks”. In Sweden, a security analysis is currently being carried out between the government and the parliamentary parties, with a report due on the 31st of May, at the latest. Andersson has hinted, however, that the analysis could be ready earlier.

Swedish vocabulary: medlemskap – membership

Danish far-right extremist Rasmus Paludan to stand in Swedish election

Rasmus Paludan and his right-wing extremist party Stram Kurs (“Hard Line”) will be standing in Sweden’s parliamentary election in September this year, Sweden’s election authority confirmed to newswire TT.

In 2019, Paludan stood in Danish parliamentary elections, achieving only 1.8 percent of the vote. Under Denmark’s proportional representation system, parties must achieve at least two percent of the vote in order to enter the Danish parliament.

In Sweden, you must be a Swedish citizen in order to be elected to parliament. Paludan’s father is Swedish, and he applied for and was granted Swedish citizenship in 2020.

In order to enter the Swedish parliament, Paludan must win at least for percent of the vote in the upcoming election.

To put that in to perspective, current parliamentary parties the Liberals and the Green Party are currently polling under four percent, and are thereby at risk of losing their representatives in the Swedish Riksdag.

Over the Easter weekend, which coincided this year with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, he visited, or planned to visit, Linköping, Norrköping, Örebro, Landskrona, Malmö and the Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby to hold “demonstrations”, setting fire to the Koran in order to provoke people living in these areas. Paludan has described these visits as an “election tour”.

Paludan’s demonstrations resulted in riots involving vandalism and violence aimed primarily at police.

At least 40 people have been arrested or charged, many of whom were minors. In total, 26 police officers have been injured.

Swedish vocabulary: att kandidera – to stand in an election

Sweden’s new work permit law passed in parliament

A new work permit law designed to minimise the number of so-called talent deportations, where qualified professionals are deported due to minor paperwork issues, passed in the Swedish parliament yesterday afternoon.

The proposal includes a new work permit for “some highly qualified individuals” to come to Sweden in order to seek work or start a business, as well as a proposal targeting these talent deportations, stating that work permits do not need to be recalled in cases with “minor cases of deviation” from work permit laws, or “if revoking the work permit does not seem reasonable in light of the circumstances”.

In addition to this, work permits will only be issued to applicants who already have a job contract, employers will be liable to report to authorities if the terms of employment are changed and become less favourable, and employers will be subject to fines if they do not provide written information to the Migration Agency about the applicant’s terms of employment.

Furthermore, work permit holders wishing to bring family with them will need to prove that they can provide for their family members before their applications are approved.

Here is The Local’s guide on the law, and how it will affect foreigners wishing to work in Sweden.

Swedish vocabulary: arbetstillstånd – work permit

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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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