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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: Everything that changes in Sweden in October 2022

A new government, new employment rules, new vaccine and a visit from the Dutch royals. Here's what's changing in Sweden in October.

KEY POINTS: Everything that changes in Sweden in October 2022

Sweden gets a new government 

Judging by the optimistic statements made by Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson, it looks like an agreement could be reached over Sweden’s next government sooner rather than later, with Kristersson installed as Prime Minister well before Halloween at the end of this month. 

The Sweden Democrats are getting eight of the sixteen chairmanships and deputy chairmanships of parliamentary committees the right-bloc is entitled to, which suggests that far-right party will be a powerful support party rather than part of the ruling coalition. Whether the Liberal Party will be included in the government, with party leader Johan Pehrson as education minister, remains to be seen.

The new government will have to get straight to work on the budget for 2023. Outside of an election year, a Swedish government would submit its budget to the parliament by the end of September. It will also have to quickly get to work on convincing Turkey and its parliament to ratify Swedish Nato membership.  

In the election campaign, the Moderate Party also promised to have a system of “high-cost protection” for electricity consumers in place by November 1st. If it is to have a chance of meeting this pledge, it will have to move rapidly.

Swedish delegation goes to Turkey for Nato meeting 

On October 5th a delegation from Sweden’s Justice Department is travelling to Turkey for a meeting Turkey’s Anadolu news agency is calling a meeting on “the extradition of criminal terrorists”. 

Sweden’s outgoing foreign minister Ann Linde said on September 27th that the talks with Turkey were “moving along nicely”. 

“My judgement is that Turkey will say ‘yes’ to Swedish Nato membership, however I don’t know when that is going to be.”

Changes to Sweden’s first-in, last-out employment rules come into force

The reform to Sweden’s Employment Protection Law, lagen om anställningsskydd or LAS, comes into force on October 1st. The reform was one of the key policies the Centre Party drove through as part of the price for supporting the outgoing Social Democrat-led government. 

Under the reform, employers who need to slim down their workforce during a business downturn gain the right to lay off three employees outside of the old first-in, last-out employment rules. These require employers to lay off those employed more recently before those who have worked for the employer for a long time. 

In exchange for the looser rules, a new system will also come into force giving employees the right to education to improve their skills so they can find a new job, perhaps in a different industry. The new system is expected to cost the government between six and nine billion kronor a year. 

Employees will be able to apply for support for studies to learn new skills from October 1st for courses starting from January 2023. 

Sweden to start using the new BA.4 and BA.5 Comirnaty vaccine 

Sweden’s Public Health Agency expects to take delivery of the new Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine adapted to target the new BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of the Covid-19 virus. The vaccine will be distributed to Sweden’s regional health authorities to be given out as part of the höstdosen, or autumn dose, which is offered for all citizens over the age of 18 (but only actively recommended to those in a risk group or over the age of 65). 

State visit by Dutch King and Queen 

The Netherlands’ King William-Alexander and Queen Maxima are visiting Sweden on a state visit from October 11th to October 13th. The state visit is, according to a press release from Sweden’s Royal Court intended to “strengthen the long-running and excellent connections between Sweden and The Netherlands which go back to the 1600s”. 

Reforms to which agency is responsible for Sweden in a crisis

From October 1st, Sweden is reforming its crisis preparedness system, with 60 agencies now classified as “crisis preparedness agencies”.

All of these agencies are required to work together with the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) and the Swedish Armed Forces to prepare for crisis situations or war, and to coordinate if a crisis or war actually happens. 

Sweden’s 21 regional governments will also be grouped into six new “civil areas” or civilområde, with the governments of Norrbotten, Örebro, Stockholm, Östergötland, Västra Götaland, and Skåne each taking charge of their surrounding area in the event of a war. 

Prisoners on early release can be returned to jail more rapidly if they do not behave

From October 1st, the Swedish Prison and Probation Service will gain greater powers to put prisoners on early release back behind bars without having to first have the decision approved by a judge at the supervisory board or Övervakningsnämnden. Currently, a decision by a judge is required before the service can dispatch police to apprehend a prisoner. 

The prison service has complained that the delay can cause problems when prisoners, for example, visit or stalk the victim of their crime, particularly in domestic violence cases. 

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