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WHAT CHANGES IN SWEDEN

What changes about life in Sweden in May 2022?

May day celebrations, a possible Nato announcement, and Eurovision. This is what May has in store for people living in Sweden.

Cornelia Jakobs celebrates her victory on Saturday.
Cornelia Jakobs celebrates her victory on Saturday. Photo: Annika Berglund/SVT

May Day celebrations

You don’t have to wait long before the first big event of May: första maj, or May 1st is, as in many countries, the big celebration for labourers and the working classes in Sweden.

Most large cities will hold a labour day celebration on Sunday May 1st, usually organised by the local branches of the Social Democrats and Left Party.

Like many large events this year, 2022 will be the first celebration in three years, after May 1st parades were cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Sunday, Social Democrat prime minister Magdalena Andersson will be taking part in Stockholm’s May 1st parade, holding a speech at Norra Latin at 15:20. The Left Party will also be celebrating, with their leader Nooshi Dadgostar holding a speech in Kundsträdgården in Sweden’s capital at 15:40.

Don’t feel left out if you can’t make it to Stockholm, though – here’s a list of all the May 1st parades organised across the country by the Left Party this year, and here’s a list of parades the Social Democrats will be attending.

Potential Nato membership

If the rumours are true, Sweden and Finland could be gearing up to announce their intention to join Nato in mid-May.

According to Iltalehti and Expressen, two tabloid newspapers from Finland and Sweden respectively, Sweden’s government has asked for Finland to delay their announcement of intention to join so that the two countries can make the announcement simultaneously, in the week commencing May 16th, when Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö is due to make a state visit to Stockholm. 

Here’s our article on the possible timeline showing the details required for Sweden to join Nato.

Eurovision

Although the Eurovision Song Contest is taking place in Italy this year, that doesn’t mean Swedes won’t be tuning in. The contest, which starts on May 10th and culminates in the Grand Final on May 14th, is a major event in Sweden’s entertainment industry, carrying on from the Mello hype which sweeps across the country every March.

This year, Sweden will be represented by Cornelia Jakobs’ Hold Me Closer, who bookmakers are currently expecting to come third in the contest after Ukraine and Italy, although she will have to qualify in one of two semi-finals first.

Sweden is currently set to perform in the second half of the second semi-final on May 12th.

You’ll be able to watch the semi-finals and the final live on public broadcaster SVT.

Sweden’s government sinks tax on petrol and diesel 

The tax rate on petrol and diesel is due to fall from May 1st, reducing the price at the pump by 1.8 kronor per litre.

Half a krona of the price cut was voted through parliament with the support of every party except for the Green Party. The government then in March proposed a further reduction of 1.3 kronor per litre. 

The temporary tax cut will expire automatically at the start of September. 

New law on returns from digital sales comes into force 

On May 1st, Sweden’s new law on consumer purchases comes into force, giving those who have sold digital goods more time to demonstrate that there is nothing wrong with the goods.   

Those who sell digital goods are also now required to make sure that security updates are made to the software for a certain amount of time. 

Postnord will only deliver post every other day 

From May 2nd, the postal company Postnord will start to only deliver post in Sweden every other day, in a decision that has brought the company widespread criticism. 

The volume of letters, the company argues, has fallen by half since the turn of the Millenium, meaning it no longer makes economic sense to make daily deliveries. 

Sweden, the company adds, was the only Nordic country left which still had every day deliveries. 

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For members

WHAT CHANGES IN SWEDEN

KEY POINTS: What changes about life in Sweden in March 2022?

A possible end to Covid-19 travel restrictions, the prospect of an electricity rebate, and the all clear for eating delicious semla buns. This is what March has in store for people living in Sweden.

KEY POINTS: What changes about life in Sweden in March 2022?
Entry ban for non-EU arrivals to Sweden due to expire
 
On March 31st, Sweden’s last remaining Covid-19 travel restriction, the entry ban for non-EU, or “third country”, arrivals, is due to expire.
 
Until this date, people travelling to Sweden from non-EU/EEA countries cannot enter the country unless they are covered by one of a series of exemptions from the entry ban, such as living in a so-called “exempt country”, having a valid Covid vaccine pass issued by an “approved country”, or being a resident of Sweden.
 
Before booking a trip to Sweden, be aware that ban has previously been extended on multiple occasions, including as recently as the end of January this year, so it is still possible that it could be extended again.
 
Compensation for high electricity prices starts to come into force
 
From March 15th, power network operators will be able to apply to Sweden’s Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency (Kammarkollegiet) for financial compensation for the current high power prices on behalf of their customers.
 
Once the agency passes over the funds, network operators will pass on the rebate to households as part of their bills in April and the following months. Here’s our article on whether you’re likely to get a rebate, and how much you can expect to get. 
 
Shorter payment times to small and medium-sized companies 
 
From March 1st, a new law comes into force aimed at reducing the problems small and medium-sized companies in Sweden have in receiving timely payments from larger customers. 
 
The law requires companies with over 250 employees to report to the Swedish Companies Registration Office on the time taken to carry out payments to companies with fewer than 250 employees. 
 
Although the law comes into force in March, companies only need to start keeping a record of their payment times from July 1st, and the first report does not need to be submitted until June 30th, 2023.  
Parents who split must have an ‘information discussion’ before going to court 
 
From March 1st, parents who split up will have to participate in an “information meeting” at their local family court before they can launch legal proceedings over custody and housing for the child, or over who can have access to the child. 
 
This conversation will include information about the current legislation, what interventions can be offered, how an investigation into custody, housing and access is carried out under Sweden’s parental code, and how children can be affected by such conflicts. 
 
Unless one or both of the parents has a special reason to attend the meeting alone – for example if the other parent lives too far away, or if there is a history of violence in the relationship – both parents are expected to attend the meeting.
 
After the meeting, they will receive a certificate, which will allow them to start a court process if at least one of them still feels it is still necessary. 
 
The new law is intended to help separated parents come to a mutual agreement, and so create better conditions for their children. 
 
The clocks go forward 
 
At 2am on Sunday, March 27th, Sweden (along with every other EU country) puts its clocks forward one hour, bringing an end to daylight saving time. A poll in 2018 found two-thirds of Swedes backed an EU proposal to end the practice, but three years later, the EU’s plan appears to have stalled.  
 
You can (officially) gorge yourself on delicious sticky semla buns 
 
Like Christmas decorations, semla buns start appearing in Sweden’s cafés earlier every year. But March 1st, Fettisdagen or “Shrove Tuesday”, is the day when people in Sweden are traditionally supposed to stuff themselves with the cream-filled, almond paste delicacies.
 
To find out what it’s all about, read our guide for Semla connoisseurs
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