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

Diplomats expelled, moving towards Nato, and populists fall in the polls. Find out what's going on in Sweden today with The Local's short roundup.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
Welfare minister Ardalan Shekarabi has said he is leaning towards supporting Sweden joining Nato. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Sweden Democrats see lowest support in three years in new poll 

Support for the populist Sweden Democrats is at its lowest point in three years, while the Green Party is back above the four percent threshold for entering parliament, according to a new Ipsos poll for Dagens Nyheter.

The share of respondents who said they would vote for the Sweden Democrats fell from 19 percent to 18 percent between March and April, while the share who said they would vote Green has risen to four percent from three percent.

The biggest fall was for the Social Democrats, who fell from a sky-high 33 percent in March to 30 percent in April. 

Ipsos interviewed 1,570 people for the poll between April 12 and April 26.

Swedish Vocab: en undersökning – an survey 

Far-right extremist blocked from two new protests

The Danish far-right extremist Rasmus Paludan has had applications for two demonstrations on Saturday, in Trollhättan and Örebro, turned down by police, on the grounds that the applications were made at too short notice. 

The police in western Sweden said that while it was important to protect the right to demonstrate, “according to the order law the application needs to be made in writing and in good time”. 

Swedish Vocab: en ansökning – an application

Russia expels Swedish diplomats in retaliation for ‘hostile actions’

Moscow on Tuesday said it was expelling three Swedish diplomats after Stockholm expelled three Russian diplomats over the conflict in Ukraine, despite Sweden saying four were dismissed.

Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement it summoned the Swedish ambassador to Russia and “strongly protested” the expulsion of Russian diplomats and Sweden’s “military support to the Kyiv regime”.

It also accused Sweden of “covering up the crimes of Ukrainian nationalists against the civilian population of Donbas and Ukraine,” referring to a region in eastern Ukraine, parts of which are controlled by pro-Russia separatists.

“In response to this, the Russian side decided to declare persona non grata three diplomats of the Swedish embassy in Russia,” the ministry said.

In early April, Sweden said it was expelling three Russian diplomats who conducted “illegal operations”, following similar moves by other EU allies.

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde said the action was “very regrettable,” but said that a total of four diplomats had been expelled — three from the embassy in Moscow and another at the Swedish consulate in Saint Petersburg

Swedish Vocab: att utvisa – to expel

Sweden’s welfare minister ‘leaning towards yes’ on Nato

Sweden’s welfare minister Ardalan Sherkarabi has said that he is now ‘leaning towards yes’ on the question of whether to join Nato, in a further sign of the Social Democrats’ slow but steady shift in position. 

“I haven’t yet landed 100 percent on a conclusion but I’m leaning towards that one,” he said. “The reason that I haven’t made and statement on my position is that I’ve been in an exploratory phase.” 

Swedish Vocab: att lutar åt – to lean towards

Sweden to miss emissions reductions required under Paris Agreement 

Sweden is now certain to blow its ‘carbon budget’ of the emissions it can release if it is to have a chance of making the reductions required to meet its share of what’s needed to keep global warming to 1.5C, the goal of the Paris Agreement. 

According to new research from Uppsala University, Sweden at the start of 2020 had just 170 million tons of carbon emissions left in its budget, if there is to be a 50 percent chance of reaching the 1.5C goal. 

It currently released 50m tonnes a year, meaning the country has only 3.5 years to go until its budget is used up.

“Any way we calculate it, the climate policy framework and plans from the rich, industrialised countries fall far from the ambition of being in line with the Paris Agreement,” said Isak Stoddard, a PhD student at Uppsala University. 

Swedish Vocab: att räkna – to count/calculate

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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