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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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
Leaders of the Nordic countries at the Madrid Nato summit. From left: Denmark's prime minister Mette Frederiksen, Finland's president Sauli Niinistö, Sweden's prime minister Magdalena Andersson, Norway's prime minister Jonas Gahr Støre and Iceland's prime minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

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

Sweden’s Liberal Party catches up with Centre in new poll

Sweden’s two small centrist parties are now nearly neck and neck, according to a new poll, with the Liberal Party catching up with the Centre Party.

According to a poll carried out by Novus for state broadcaster SVT, support for the Liberal Party has leapt by 1.5 percent to 5.0 percent, putting it safely over the four percent threshold for entering parliament, and within a whisker of the Centre Party’s 5.4 percent. 

Swedish vocabulary: en förändring – a change

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

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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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

Training Ukrainian troops, pilots sign SAS deal, house prices, and election pledges: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup

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

SAS pilots approve new collective agreement

As many as 93 percent of the Danish SAS pilots have voted yes to the agreement which ended strike action but also means, among other things, redeployments, longer working weeks, and lower wages.

The union Dansk Metal announced the level of acceptance on Saturday morning. The pilots could have voted yes or no on the new collective agreement until midnight on Friday evening.

Pilots in Sweden and Norway have also approved the agreement.

Keld Bækkelund Hansen, head of negotiations at Dansk Metal, said “I am incredibly happy. It is a bit atypical to see that a collective agreement negotiation ends in agreements being made that reduce wages and conditions.”

“So, of course, it was exciting how our members viewed the new collective agreement. But they could also see that it was a necessity in relation to SAS’s situation,” he added.

Swedish vocab: att godkänna – to approve 

Majority of households believe house prices will fall 

A clear majority of 57 percent of house households in Sweden now believe house prices will fall, a six percentage points rise on the last month, according to the latest edition of the monthly house price indicator from the country’s SEB bank.  

“It’s clear that an increasingly harsh climate for private finances is affecting house price indications, which lie at the lowest level since the 2008 finance crisis,” said the bank’s private economist Américo Fernández in a press message.

Swedish vocab: kärva – harsh 

Christian Democrats call for national plan for maternity care 

The Christian Democrats have called for a national plan for maternity care, in an election pledge that it the party sees as the first stage in its plan to replace Sweden’s regional health authorities with a national health service. 

“Swedish healthcare is suffering from a system failure, which is spelled ‘regions'”, the party’s leader Ebba Busch, said in her summer speech ahead of September’s election. 

The plan would see the reopening of closed maternity clinics and wards, and a guarantee that threatened clinics and wards be kept open. 

Swedish vocab: att avskaffa – to abolish 

Liberals propose campaign to bring order to Swedish schools 

The Liberal Party has proposed a national campaign to bring order to Swedish schools, which the party is calling an ordningslyft, literally “order lift”. 

The campaign will include an “order contract”, signed by all pupils and parents, and five other proposals, of which two are new. 

The two new proposals are that the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) state clearly that pupils have a responsibility for order in schools, and must come in time for lessons, look after their school books, use decent language, and arrive rested for lessons. Parents also share responsibility, and must, for instance, come to parent-teacher meetings. 

Swedish vocab: förväntningar – expectations

Swedish Armed Forces to give 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers basic training 

Sweden has agreed to send 120 military officers to the UK, where they are expected to help train up to 10,000 Ukrainian citizens basic military training, under a scheme run by the UK. 

“This is important if Ukraine is going to be able to maintain and strengthen its ability to defend itself,” Sweden’s prime minister, Magdalena Andersson, said at a joint press conference with the country’s defence minister, Peter Hultqvist, on Sunday. 

The two made the announcement on a visit to the Armed Forces military base in Boden, northern Sweden. 

Sweden will never have more than 60 military instructors in the UK at any one time, and the scheme is expected to run from August 12th to December 31st. 

Swedish vocab: att upprätthålla – to maintain 

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