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

Finland should join Nato "without delay", parliamentary Nato report due today, and Sweden through to Eurovision final. Here's Friday's news.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
Cornelia Jakobs meets Melodifestivalklubben, Sweden's Eurovision fan club, outside her hotel in Turin. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Finland’s president and prime minister say country should join Nato ‘without delay’

Finland’s president Sauli Niinistö and prime minister Sanna Marin have said ‘yes’ to a Finnish Nato application, kickstarting the process through which Finland and most likely Sweden will join the alliance.

In a joint press statement, Niinistö and Marin said that Nato membership “would strengthen Finland’s security” and that Finland’s membership would “strengthen the entire defence alliance”.

“Finland must apply for Nato membership without delay,” they continued.

“We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days.”

Swedish vocabulary: utan dröjsmål – without delay

Swedish parliamentary report on Nato due today

On Friday May 13th, the Swedish government’s ‘security policy analysis group’ is due to submit its own reassessment of Sweden’s security situation.

The reassessment was initially supposed to be submitted by May 31st, but on April 21st, the government accelerated the process. The Left and Green parties are unlikely to support the conclusions of the report.  

The report is not expected to state whether Sweden should join the alliance or not.

The Social Democrats will make an official statement on whether to join the alliance on Sunday, and an extra parliamentary meeting on Nato is scheduled for Monday.

Sweden will send an application to join the Nato alliance on Monday, tabloid Expressen reports, stating that the information comes from sources close to the newspaper.

According to the newspaper, Magdalena Andersson will call a governmental meeting where the decision of whether to join Nato or not will be made. Social Democrat leadership have stated that the question is still up for debate, but it is expected that the government will announce their intention to apply to join Nato.

Directly after this meeting, Expressen reports, Sweden will submit their application to join Nato.

Swedish vocabulary: ansökan – application

Sweden qualify for Eurovision final

Cornelia Jakobs, Sweden’s entry to the Eurovision Song Contest, burst into tears and jumped onto presenter Mario Acampas, after shooting through to the final on Thursday night.

Jakobs was emotional at the press conference after her qualification, telling the story of her progress from an “largely unknown” indie artist to the Eurovision stage.

“There are a lot of feelings right now in this little body, an extremely large amount of feelings that can’t really fit in, so they’re exploding,” she said, before beginning to cry. “But I’m so happy and overwhelmed by all the support I’ve got from all these fantastic countries.”

Jakobs, with her song, “Hold Me Closer”, was the clear favourite to go into the final, and will go through alongside Finland’s The Rasmus, and their song “Jezebel”, Serbia’s Konstrakta with “In Corpore Sano”, as well as entries from Belgium, Czechia, Azerbaijan, Poland, Estonia, Australia, and Romania.

In the final, she will meet the other favourites, which include Ukraine, Italy, and the United Kingdom. 

The final will be shown on Sweden’s state broadcaster SVT at 9pm on Saturday. 

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For members


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

Biden backs Sweden in Nato, first case of monkeypox and labour market heating up. Here's Friday's news.

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

Sweden registers first confirmed case of monkeypox

One person in Sweden has a confirmed case of monkeypox, health authorities said on Thursday following similar cases in Europe and North America.

The rare disease usually manifests itself through fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a rash on the hands and face.

“One person in the Stockholm region has been confirmed to be infected with monkey pox,” Sweden’s Public Health Agency said in a statement.

The infected person “is not seriously ill, but has been given care,” according to the agency.

“We still don’t know where the person was infected. An investigation is currently underway,” Klara Sonden, an infectious disease doctor and investigator at the agency, said in a statement.

The health authority is now “investigating with the regional infection control centres whether there are more cases in Sweden,” it said.

On Wednesday, Spain, Portugal, Canada and the United States all reported having cases of confirmed or suspected monkeypox.

Authorities have generally been reassuring, with Spanish and Portuguese officials stressing that the disease is not very contagious between humans.

Swedish vocabulary: apkoppor – monkeypox

Biden gives ‘full, total, complete backing’ for Swedish Nato bid

US President Joe Biden on Thursday strongly backed Finland and Sweden’s bid to join Nato in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as the Nordic nations’ leaders promised to address concerns raised by Turkey.

With the red-carpet pomp of a White House visit, Biden welcomed Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto days after they formally announced their Nato aspirations and said he was submitting their applications to the US Congress, where there is bipartisan support for ratification.

“The bottom line is simple. Quite straightforward: Finland and Sweden make Nato stronger,” Biden said, offering the “full, total, complete backing of the United States of America.”

“Sweden and Finland have strong democratic institutions, strong militaries and strong and transparent economies, and a strong moral sense of what is right,” Biden said with the two leaders at his side in the White House Rose Garden.

“They meet every Nato requirement, and then some,” Biden told assembled reporters without taking any questions.

Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate who frequently fights Biden’s agenda, said he would seek quick action on the bids by Sweden and Finland. He noted that Finland already commits two percent of its GDP to defence and that Sweden “is on pace to reach that target very soon” — a threshold backed by Nato and long pushed by Washington.

“These nations are setting an example which current treaty allies would do well to follow,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “So I’ll be proud to continue amplifying their case for accession however I can.”

Swedish vocabulary: backar – to back

Labour market set to heat up over summer

According to new figures, this summer’s job market looks to be heating up.

Employers’ demand for staff has reached the highest summer levels ever, according to staffing company Manpowers’ quarterly measurements which started the measurements 19 years ago.

The employment index is standing at +25 before the third quarter and is based on 765 interviews with Swedish employers. Although lower than last quarter’s figure of +37, this is still the highest reported figure for a summer period.

The index shows the amount of employers planning to hire over the summer, minus those who are not.

“The high demand for staff is continuing despite high inflation and war close by,” Mikael Hansson, the staffing company’s Swedish boss wrote in a press statement.

The measurement was carried out between April 1st-29th, which means that factors such as the war in Ukraine and increased inflation are included in the figures, Manpower states.

All Swedish regions gave positive prognoses in all branches, but central Sweden showed a sharp decrease in the employment prognosis compared to the previous quarter. Stockholm and the Uppsala region and southern Sweden reported the strongest figures.

Swedish vocabulary: sysselsättning – employment