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

An airspace violation, May Day election promises, and a party ban for Ebba Busch. Find out what's going on in Sweden on Monday with The Local's short roundup.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
Social Democrat Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson with two party colleagues at her May Day speech. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Sweden accuses Russian spy plane of violating airspace

A Russian reconnaissance plane briefly violated Sweden’s airspace on Friday, Swedish defence officials said on Saturday, as the country considers its bid for Nato membership after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The ministry said the plane was flying east of Bornholm, a Danish island in the Baltic, before it headed towards Swedish territory.

“It is totally unacceptable to violate Swedish airspace,” state broadcaster SVT quoted Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist as saying.

“This action is unprofessional and given the general security situation, very inappropriate. Swedish sovereignty must always be respected.”

Carl-Johan Edström, air force chief, also told SVT that they had followed the plane for a long time.

“I think it is irresponsible and unprofessional to fly so close to a country’s borders with military aircraft. There is no reason to fly so close that you can accidentally enter a country’s territory, you may well be 10-15 kilometres from the border, then things like this do not have to happen”, Edström said.

Swedish vocab: kränkning – violation 

Christian Democrat leader barred from Elle party 

Christian Democrat leader Ebba Busch had her invite to Friday’s gala for Elle magazine retracted after her controversial comments in which she said police should have used “live ammunition” to deter rioters over the Easter weekend. 

Newspaper Dagens Nyheter were first to report the Elle party snub, which Christian Democrat press secretary Joel Apelthun told the newspaper was a decision taken by the magazine after Busch’s controversial comments in last Saturday’s interview on public radio SVT Ekot.

Jennie Knutsson, communications officer at Aller Media, the company behind Elle, confirmed reports to tabloid Expressen, adding that the decision to retract Busch’s invite came from editorial staff at Elle.

“Elle values diversity, and we oppose violence in all forms. Recent comments from the Christian Democrat leader oppose these values and are not something we wish to take focus off the gala,” Knutsson wrote.

Although Busch did not directly address the gala snub, she posted a series of pictures on Instagram coinciding with the gala, wearing a black ballgown designed by a Ukrainian designer, holding a Ukrainian flag outside the Russian Embassy in Stockholm.

Swedish vocab: portad – kicked out, snubbed

Social Democrats pledge to hike unemployment benefits to 80 percent of salary 

Sweden’s Social Democrats have pledged to hike unemployment benefits if they get elected in September’s election, in their first major new election pledge. 

In her May Day speech in Stockholm, Sweden’s prime minister Magdalena Andersson said that everyone who earns up to 33,000 kronor a month will receive 80 percent of their salary if they become unemployed. 

“A-kassa [unemploment benefit] is not strong enough in Sweden,” she said. “This is about thousands of kronor a month. This could make the difference between whether you can pay your rent or not.” 

The new policy will cost the Swedish state about five billion kronor a year. 

Swedish vocaben höjning – a raise

Swedish foreign minister ‘pretty certain’ Finland will join Nato 

Swedish foreign minister Ann Linde has said she is ‘pretty certain’ that Finland will join Nato in an interview with Swedish state broadcaster SVT. 

In her May Day speech prime minister Magdalena Andersson said that Sweden would be ‘more exposed’ if Finland were to join Nato without Sweden. 

“If they choose to join Nato, that will increase the tension in our neighbourhood. Sweden will be more exposed if we don’t become a member,” she said. 

Swedish vocabutsatt – exposed

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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