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

Erdogan talks, media subsidies, Moderates against biofuels, and an abortion contract: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
Mats Svegfors, the former newspaper editor appointed to lead an inquiry into reforms to media subsidies, presents his conclusions on Monday. Photo: Marko Säävälä/TT

Sweden and Finland to discuss Nato bid with Erdogan at Madrid summit

Finnish and Swedish leaders will discuss their stalled Nato bids with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday at the start of an alliance summit in Madrid, officials said.

But Turkey said the four-way meeting, which will also involve Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg, did not mean that Ankara was close to lifting its objection to the two Nordic countries joining the military bloc.

The four leaders will meet in Madrid, in a last ditch bid to break to deadlock before the start of the alliance’s summit, which will focus on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Officials from Ankara, Helsinki and Stockholm held a fresh round of talks on Monday at Nato’s headquarters in Brussels to try to hammer out the differences.

“My strong hope is that this dialogue can be successfully concluded in the near future, ideally before the summit,” said Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson after meeting Stoltenberg in Brussels. She said that the talks were progressing in “a constructive spirit”. 

Swedish Vocab: en konstruktiv anda – a constructive spirit

Christian Democrat leader signs ‘abortion contract’ 

Ebba Busch, leader of Sweden’s Christian Democrat party, has called on the leaders of all Sweden’s political parties to sign an “abortion contract”, committing them to protect women’s right to have an abortion in Sweden.  

At a press conference on Monday, she presented the document and called for all eight party leaders to sign it. 

“I don’t buy Magdalena Andersson’s claim to be worried about Sweden’s abortion legislation,” she said, showing the document. “There is room for signatures from all eight party leaders. I have already signed on behalf of the Christian Democrats.” 

Swedish Vocab: lagstiftning – legislation

Moderates pledge to cut share of biofuels in petrol and diesel 

Sweden’s right-wing Moderate opposition have pledged to reduce the mandatory proportion of biofuels in petrol and diesel to the lowest level allowed under EU rules, a move the party claims will cut the price of diesel by at least five kronor a litre. 

The so-called reduktionsplikt, or reduction duty, requires petrol and diesel sold in Sweden to be blended with a slowly increasing proportion of biofuels, which is intended to reduce carbon emissions.   

Sweden has chosen to require a higher share of biofuel than the EU demands. 

“That’s something Swedish households are paying for,” the Moderate party’s economic spokesperson, Elisabeth Svantesson, said, while conceding that the proposal would lead to higher carbon emissions if enacted. 

Swedish Vocab: högre utsläpp – higher emissions 

SAS pilots still ready to strike from Wednesday 

Unions representing pilots working for Scandinavia’s SAS airline have yet to reach an agreement with the airline’s management, meaning between 200 and 250 flights and up to 30,000 passengers could be affected every day, starting from Wednesday. 

“There’s nothing new to say,” Karin Nyman, SAS’s communications chief, told TT on Monday. “Right now we’re in the middle of mediation, so we won’t comment on the situation, but hope that we will be able to reach a solution.” 

Sweden’s pilot union have a strike warning to Sweden’s National Mediation Office three weeks ago, while SAS has warned that it cold impose a lockout at Arlanda, which could mean employees barred from the airport. 

SAS plans to offer those with flights booked between June 27th and July 3rd, the opportunity to rebook their flights in the future at no cost. 

Swedish Vocab: kostnadsfritt – at no additional cost 

Inquiry calls for technology-neutral media subsidies

An inquiry into how best to reform the system that subsidises Sweden’s media has recommended that the system become “technology neutral”, supporting media organisations equally regardless of whether they are published in paper editions, online or broadcast. 

The inquiry, which was led by the former Svenska Dagbladet editor Mats Svegfors, also recommended focusing subsidies on supporting local and regional journalism. 

The inquiry did not support removing value added tax from newspaper sales, however. 

Swedish Vocab: mediestöd – press subsidies

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For members


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

Parties call for compulsory pre-schools, insulating homes, and state paying energy costs, plus Biden signs Nato bid: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

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

US President Biden signs ratification of Finnish and Swedish Nato bids

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed US ratification of bids by Finland and Sweden to enter Nato, taking expansion of the Western alliance in response to Russia’s Ukraine invasion one step closer.

Biden said the two northern European countries would become “strong, reliable highly capable new allies” by making the “sacred commitment” to
mutual defense in the US-led transatlantic alliance. 

Earlier this month, the Senate voted 95-1 in favor of the Nordic states’ accession, making the United States the 23rd of the 30 Nato countries to give formal endorsement. Unanimous support is needed for new membership.

Biden, who has made restoring traditional US alliances a cornerstone of his administration after Donald Trump’s move to upend ties around the world,
praised Nato as “the foundation of American security.”

“The United States is committed to the transatlantic alliance.”

Biden also praised Finland and Sweden, saying both have “strong democratic institutions, strong militaries and strong and transparent economies” that would now bolster Nato.

Swedish vocab: att undertecka – to sign 

Liberal party calls for compulsory kindergarten for toddlers with poor Swedish

The Liberal Party has called for children between the ages of two and five who are considered to have a low level of Swedish to be forced to attend pre-school or dagis, as the party announced its election manifesto on Tuesday. 

Liberal leader Johan Pehrson said that all children who do not already attend pre-schools would be required to have their language ability assessed by their local primary health centre, and then be sent to special “language pre-schools” to speed up language development, if they have poor Swedish.

In the manifesto, the party reiterated its calls for 1,000 new special teachers, better conditions for teachers, and more order in the classroom. 

Swedish vocab: en plikt – a duty 

Green Party: government should pay to insulate homes 

Sweden’s green party is proposing that Sweden’s government pay 80 percent of the costs of installing air or groundwater heat pumps, and improving ventilation and isolation in people’s homes, as a way of reducing their energy costs this coming winter. 

“The long-term solution for keeping down energy costs is for the state to help households reduce energy use now as much as possible,” he said. “If you succeed in putting in place these measures, then they won’t only have an impact this winter but in many future winters to come.” 

Swedish vocab: åtgärder – measures 

Sweden’s Moderates call for state to foot private energy bills

The opposition Moderate Party has proposed that the government contribute towards households’ electricity bills this winter, as electricity prices are expected to rise.

The party is proposing a system of “high-cost protection” or högkostnadsskydd similar to that found in Norway, where the state will commit to covering a percentage of all costs over a certain figure.

It is not yet clear how the system would work, but the Moderates’ finance spokesperson, Elisabeth Svantesson, said it the government should set a price threshold, above which the government would shoulder the majority of any extra cost.

“You could expect the state to pay for 75 percent of the cost of everything over one krona per kilowatt hour,” she suggested, adding that a one krona threshold would cut around 6,000 kronor off the energy bill of an average family in Norrland.

“We can’t completely protect the consumer, but we can make it easier,” she said. “No one should be forced to leave their home this winter because of an electricity bill.”

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson is open to the suggestion, stating that her party would “study the proposal very carefully”.

Swedish vocab: högkostnadsskydd – high cost protection 

Swedish PM: Moderate Party’s property tax warnings ‘completely absurd’

In a long interview broadcast on Swedish state radio broadcaster SR, Andersson stressed that her party had no plans to bring back the property tax abolished by the Moderate-led government back in 2008.

“We are not going to campaign on the back of a property tax, have no plans to do it, and have shown over the last eight years that we are not doing it,” she said. “It is completely absurd that the Moderates are running their campaign about this for the third or fourth time in a row. They were cranking this out in 2014, 2018 and now in 2022, and we have not brought back the property tax.”

When pushed by the interviewer, however, Andersson refused to absolutely rule out making any changes to Sweden’s system of property taxation.

“If I start to draw red lines, I will risk creating an even more locked situation after the election,” she said. “But there’s no question over what I believe. If you don’t want to bring back property tax, you should vote for the Social Democrats.”

The Swedish Trade Union Confederation LO, is in favour of bringing back the property tax, which it describes as “one of the best taxes”, as is the Left Party.

Swedish vocab: att lova – to promise