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

Nato deal with Turkey, pilot strike postponed, and the return of nuclear: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
A hand pump at a well in the Swedish countryside. Photo: Martina Holmberg/TT

Turkey drops objections to Sweden joining Nato

Turkey on Tuesday evening dropped its objections to Sweden and Finland joining Nato, paving the way for the two Nordic nations to join the North Atlantic defence alliance.

“We have reached an agreement between Sweden, Turkey and Finland which means that Turkey now accepts that we will be granted invitee status in Nato. That’s important, as it will improve Sweden’s security,” Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said after a meeting in Madrid with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In a press release, Nato said that the foreign ministers of Turkey, Sweden and Finland had all signed a trilateral memorandum (find copy here) which addressed “Türkiye’s legitimate security concerns”.

Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that Nato leaders would as a result now be able to issue a formal invitation to Sweden and Finland to join the alliance.

“I’m pleased to announce that we now have an agreement that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join Nato. Turkey, Finland and Sweden have signed a memorandum that addresses Turkey’s concerns, including around arms exports,
and the fight against terrorism,” he said.

In the deal, Sweden commits to resuming weapons sales to Turkey, to cease supporting the Kurdish PYD government in northern Syria, and to handle extradition requests from Turkey for those it suspects of links to the PKK or Gülen Movement “expeditiously and thoroughly”.  

Swedish Vocab: en överenskommelse  – an agreement 

Pilot unions postpone strike until Saturday 

Sweden’s pilot union has postponed a strike planned for Wednesday until Saturday morning, to provide time for extra negotiations with the Scandinavian airline SAS. 

As many as 900 pilots were expected to go on strike, affecting up to 30,000 travellers, but at forty minutes past midnight on Wednesday, SAS said that the talks would be extended. 

Swedish Vocab: förhandlingar – negotiations

Risk of summer water shortages across Sweden 

Groundwater levels are low across large parts of Sweden, making water shortages likely, the Geological Survey of Sweden has said in its latest report

Groundwater levels are low across almost all of Götaland, most of Svealand och about half of Norrland, compared with what is normal for the season, meaning even a normally dry summer will lead to shortages. 

Swedish Vocab: grundvatten – groundwater  

Sweden’s state power company to study building mini nuclear plants

Sweden’s state power company Vattenfall is looking into building a series of small modular nuclear reactors at the site of its decommissioned Ringhals plant, in what would be the first new nuclear power station in the country since 1980.

The company’s chief executive Anna Borg said in a press release on Tuesday that the first new reactors could come into operation by the early 2030s, “provided that a pilot study concludes that it would be profitable and all other conditions for a future investment decision are met, in particular, new regulations for nuclear power”.

The statement comes at a time when Sweden’s right-wing opposition has politicised the issue of nuclear power, criticising the Social Democrat-led government for allowing the first two nuclear power plants built at Ringhals near Gothenburg to be decommissioned in 2019 and 2020, five years earlier than intended when they were built.

“I think it’s fantastic and exciting news that Vattenfall wants to invest in new nuclear power in southern Sweden,” said Carl-Oskar Bolin, chair of the Swedish parliament’s business committee. “This is exactly what’s required to stabilise power prices in the long run.”

Swedish Vocab: att utreda – to investigate 

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

US approves Sweden's Nato application, increased interest in the army, and Volvo plans new battery plant. Here's Sweden's news on Thursday.

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

Swedish army sees increased interest among the young

A new report from Ungdomsbarometern shows that more and more young people believe Swedish defence should receive more funding, SVT reports.

In addition to this, the Swedish Armed Forces has reported an increase in interest among young people in carrying out military service.

“When I was eighteen, I was a bit scared of the military,” 22-year-old Johannes Blom, who is carrying out military service at Livgardets Regement in northern Stockholm, told SVT.

“But it’s grown on me in recent years.”

Prior to the war in Ukraine, interest in carrying out military service decreased among the young, according to the Swedish Armed Forces. The reason is unclear, but it is clear that the downward trend was broken at the end of February.

One month later, in March, the amount of people interested in carrying out basic military training and military service had almost doubled, from 16 percent in February to 28 percent in March, according to figures from the Swedish Armed Forces.

Swedish vocabulary: värnplikt – military service

US approves Sweden’s Nato application – seven countries remain

The US Senate approved Sweden and Finland’s Nato applications with 95 votes to 1.

“It’s very satisfying. It’s only very positive for Sweden and shows confidence in both Sweden and Finland,” Foreign Minister Ann Linde told TT newswire.

After a debate lasting over three hours, senators voted in favour of ratifying Sweden and Finland’s applications to join the Nato defence alliance. The message arrived early on Thursday morning, Swedish time.

“It’s the largest and most important country in Nato, so of course it is important,” Linde said. “Now there are only seven countries left which have not ratified, it’s never gone so fast.”

The decision was also welcomed by Sweden’s Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson, who said on Twitter that the “swift vote in favour of our countries joining the alliance is greatly appreciated.”

Swedish vocabulary: godkänna – approve

Volvo plans new electric battery plant in Sweden

Swedish lorry and heavy equipment maker Volvo Group said on Wednesday it planned to open a new battery factory in Sweden to manufacture battery cells for heavy-duty vehicles and machines.

“There is a strong demand from our customers already today, and by 2030, it is our ambition that at least 35 percent of the products we sell are electric”, Volvo Group chief executive Martin Lundstedt said in a statement.

“This ramp-up will require large volumes of high-performing batteries, produced using fossil free energy and it is a logical next step for us to include battery production in our future industrial footprint”, he added.

The project, which is subject to approvals from relevant authorities, calls for the construction of a plant in Mariestad in southern Sweden, near Volvo’s main powertrain plant.

The site was chosen in order to “benefit from the region’s existing industrial and logistics infrastructure” and its access to Sweden’s “rich supply of fossil free energy”, the company said.

Volvo Group is a wholly-Swedish company that split in 1999 from automobile maker Volvo Cars, which is now owned by Chinese group Geely.

Swedish vocabulary: batterifabrik – battery factory