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

Four thousand cancelled flights, Boris Johnson in Sweden and an extra Nato debate. Here's what's happening in Sweden on Wednesday.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
File photo of an SAS aeroplane. Photo: Javad Parsa/NTB/TT

Boris Johnson visiting Sweden today

UK prime minister Boris Johnson is in Sweden today in order to visit Swedish prime minister Magdalena Andersson at Harpsund, her official summer residence.

The purpose for the visit is Europe’s security situation, as well as cooperation between Sweden and the UK.

According to unconfirmed reports in tabloid Aftonbladet, Johnson is in Sweden to sign an agreement to deepen defence and security cooperation between the countries, relating to the possible vulnerable position Sweden could be in prior to being granted Nato membership if it submits an application to the Nato alliance.

Johnson and Andersson will hold a shared press conference at 1.40pm on Wednesday.

Following the press conference, Johnson will then travel onwards to Helsinki, where he will meet with Finland’s president Sauli Niinistö. The goal of that meeting is the same: Johnson and Niinistö will discuss the European security situation and then hold a press conference together.

Swedish vocabulary: säkerhetsläget – the security situation

Extra Nato debate announced for Monday

According to reports from public broadcaster SVT, an extra Nato debate will be held in parliament on Monday.

This will follow the Social Democrats’ announcement of their decision over whether to apply to the alliance, expected on Sunday May 15th.

“According to my sources, parliament will hold an extra debate on Nato membership,” SVT’s political commentator Mats Knutson said. “It’s in order to debate the security policy analysis the parties present on Friday, prior to any eventual Nato membership application”.

The parliamentary calendar states that on Monday, the government will give information on the security policy analysis.

Swedish vocabulary: en extrainsatt debatt – an extra debate

SAS cancels 4,000 flights

Scandinavian airline SAS will cancel around 4,000 flights over summer. According to press officer Karin Nyman, it covers the period between May and August, for which the company had a total of 75,000 flights planned.

“The vast majority of travellers won’t be affected by this, other than they will be rebooked to a flight within a few hours or on the same day,” Nyman told newspaper Dagens Industri (DI).

In total, around five percent of flights will be affected.

Nyman told the newspaper that the reason behind the cancellations is a staff shortage combined with delayed deliveries of new aeroplanes.

The pilot’s union told DI that they had warned of staff shortages in summer on multiple occasions.

Flight expert Jan Ohlsson agrees that staff shortages are a problem.

“SAS have loads of planes, loads of flight routes but no one flying the planes. There’s a total overcapacity,” he told TT.

He said that numerous experts have warned SAS of this situation. Despite this, SAS has put even more planes, including older planes with their livery changed, into rotation. The lack of staff means that they need to hire in pilots from external companies to get the planes flying.

“SAS have put themselves in a difficult situation,” Ohlsson told TT. “I – and others with me – think that SAS should have fewer planes flying instead and should be looking at which routes they are even flying at all”.

Swedish vocabulary: flygningar – flights

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

Nato invites Sweden to join, labour market testing proposed and property prices continue to fall. Here's Sweden's news on Thursday.

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

Sweden and Finland formally invited to become Nato members

Nato leaders agreed on Wednesday to formally invite Finland and Sweden to join the alliance after Turkey struck a deal with the Nordic duo to drop its objections, a statement said.

“Today, we have decided to invite Finland and Sweden to become members of Nato, and agreed to sign the Accession Protocols,” a declaration from a summit in Madrid said.

The statement on the invitation, point 18 out of 20 in the declaration, stressed the importance of the trilateral memorandum struck with Turkey on Tuesday night.

“In any accession to the Alliance, it is of vital importance that the legitimate security concerns of all Allies are properly addressed,” the declaration reads. “We welcome the conclusion of the trilateral memorandum between Türkiye, Finland, and Sweden to that effect.”

Finland and Sweden joining Nato “will make them safer, Nato stronger, and the Euro-Atlantic area more secure,” the declaration continue.

It also reiterated security guarantees given by Nato countries, stating that during the accession process the security of Sweden and Finland would be “of direct importance to the Alliance”.

Swedish vocabulary: medlem – member

Swedish government calls for return of labour market testing for work permits

Sweden’s government has called for labour migration from non-EU countries to once again be limited to jobs where there a a recognised shortage of labour.

Sweden’s migration minister Anders Ygeman told a press conference on Wednesday that the government would soon launch an inquiry into how best to reintroduce the so-called “labour market test” for work permits. The inquiry will also look at ways to combat wage dumping and the exploitation of labour migrants.

According to Ygeman, scrapping the labour market test system in 2008 has resulted in extensive labour migration, often in occupations where there is no shortage of labour.

There had, he said, been “no requirements on job contracts, no requirement that the job should be filling a position with a national shortage, no limit for the number of labour migrants coming to Sweden, no requirement to support relatives financially, and no requirement for full-time work”.

All other countries in Europe make these demands for work permits “in various combinations,” he said.

According to Ygeman, Sweden’s unusually liberal system has led to it being abused by criminals, to wage dumping, and have also made it harder for the unemployed and people seeking asylum in Sweden to find work.

The inquiry – utredning, in Swedish – will look into what skilled labour Sweden lacks in order to create a labour market test, and ensure that the system can meet the needs of the Swedish labour market.

Swedish vocabulary: arbetsmarknadsprövning – labour market testing

Property prices drop for third month straight

The price of apartments or bostadsrätter i Stockholm municipality fell for the third month in a row in June. This time, prices dropped by more than 5 percent (4.3 percent after adjustments for seasonal factors), according to Danske Bank’s property price indicator.

Since prices peaked in March, properties in Stockholm have become almost 8 percent cheaper.

According to Danske Bank, the drop is due to buyers becoming more cautious rather than a lack of properties for sale, as there is still a good supply of housing on the market.

Prices are expected to continue to drop following today’s interest rate news from Sweden’s central bank. Danske Bank expects that the key interest rate in February next year will land at 2 percent.

“Against this background, it cannot be ruled out that the fall in prices may be greater than 10% both in Stockholm and in other parts of the country, despite the fact that the labour market is still a mainstay of household income”, the bank’s chief economist Michael Drahn said in a press statement.

Swedish vocabulary: avvaktande – cautious