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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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
The Social Democrats hold a press conference on Sunday to announce their decision to back Nato membership. Photo: TT

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 

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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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

Asylum return centres, interest rate hike, Biden's Switzerland gaffe: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

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

Sweden’s government proposes asylum return centres near airports

Sweden’s government has launched an inquiry into how to set up so-called “return centres” for rejected asylum seekers, which would increase the share who are promptly returned to their home countries.

The new return centres would be built close to airports in Sweden, enabling those ordered to return to their home countries to be rapidly and efficiently put on planes. 

“Establishing a return centres will make it possible to send a clear signal that the asylum process has been completed and that from that point on return will be the main focus,” Sweden’s immigration minister Anders Ygeman said at a press conference on Thursday. 

Swedish Vocab: ett avslag – a rejection

Sweden’s central bank brings in biggest rate hike in 22 years

Sweden’s Riksbank has raised interest rates by 50 points to 0.75 percent, in its biggest rate hike in 22 years.

The bank said it was now predicting that its key interest rate would rise to 1.36 percent in the last three months of 2022, up from the 0.81 percent it predicted at the end of April. 

Between the start of April and the end of June next year, it will rise to 1.9 percent (up for 1.18 predicted in April), and in the last six months of 2025, the rate will hit 2.06 percent, it said.

Swedish Vocab: en räntehöjning – an interest rate rise

Erdogan: Sweden has promised to extradite 73 people. 

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, claimed at a press conference at the end of the Nato meeting in Madrid that Sweden had promised to extradite 73 people Turkey suspects of being terrorists to Turkey. 

“We want to strongly emphasise the message that we expect straightforward solidarity from our allies, not just words but also actions,” he said. 

Turkey’s justice minister, Bekir Bozdag, told Turkey’s NTV broadcaster on Wednesday that Sweden had promised to extradite 21 people to Turkey. 

Swedish vocab: att utlämna – to extradite 

Sweden insists on judicial independence in Turkey extradition decisions

Sweden insisted on Thursday that any decisions regarding the possible extradition of alleged Kurdish militants and coup plot suspects to Turkey would be made by “independent courts”.

“In Sweden, Swedish law is applied by independent courts. Swedish citizens are not extradited. Non-Swedish citizens can be extradited at the request of other countries, but only if it is compatible with Swedish law and the European Convention,” Justice Minister Morgan Johansson said in a written statement to AFP.

On Wednesday, Turkey had said it would seek the extradition of alleged Kurdish militants and coup plot suspects from Sweden and Finland under a deal to secure Ankara’s support for the Nordic countries’ NATO membership bids.

Swedish Vocab: oberoende domstolar – independent courts 

US President Biden mixes up Sweden and Switzerland at Nato summit

Joe Biden on Thursday said that Switzerland would be joining Nato, mixing the Alpine country up with Sweden in a press conference at the transatlantic alliance’s summit in Madrid on Thursday. The US president immediately corrected himself, making a joke of his gaffe. 

“We’ve invited two new members to join Nato. It was a historic act,” he told reporters, before relating an earlier phone call with the president of Finland.

He said: “We got on the telephone, he suggested we call the leader of, Switzerland – Switzerland, my goodness – I’m getting really anxious here about expanding Nato, of Sweden.”

Swedish vocab: en felsägning – a slip of the tongue

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