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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 Friday

ADHD tests for immigrant kids, Turk deported, train problems, and ISA tax proposal, find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup

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

Moderates propose ADHD tests for all kids in vulnerable areas

The Moderate Party in Stockholm wants to rapid test all children in “vulnerable areas” for ADHD so that more can get diagnosed and given medication. 

The party stresses that the tests would be voluntary and would be carried out at primary care centres from the age of five onwards. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background are less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden, and that there is a link between childhood ADHD and violent crime later in life. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” said the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime 

Sweden extradites first Turk since striking Nato deal

Sweden’s government said on Thursday that it would hand over a Turkish citizen convicted of credit card fraud to Ankara, the first known extradition since Sweden struck a deal with Turkey promising to deal with extraditions “expeditiously and thoroughly”.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to block both Sweden and Finland from NATO membership unless they meet several demands, including the extradition of people Ankara considers “terrorists”.

Erdogan accuses the two countries of being havens for Kurdish militants, specifically highlighting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The man facing extradition was identified in Swedish court documents as Okan Kale, and was convicted in Turkey of credit card fraud in 2013 and 2016.

Swedish vocab: att utlämna – to deport 

Train problems to continue into autumn 

The Swedish Transport Administration is still facing problems with its new time table system, which, in combination with track work, will mean continuing train delays into the autumn,” Sweden’s state broadcaster SR has reported. 

The administration is supposed to draw up a plan on how trains should travel when there is track work 18 weeks in advance, but it is currently only able to do so two to four weeks in advance, which is making it difficult for train companies to sell train tickets. 

“This is something we are of course working intensively to improve,” Mikael Eriksson, the agency’s marketing chief, said, adding that most trains were not impacted by the track work, and that the planning system should be working properly by the end of the year. 

Swedish vocab: framförhållning – long-term planning 

Centre Party wants to remove tax from savings accounts

Sweden’s Centre Party has proposed scrapping tax on the first 30,000 kronor held by people in Sweden in Individual Savings Accounts, in order to encourage saving among Swedes, 

“A lot of people have only a small amount of extra money,” she says. “It would be simple to start saving and we want to especially benefit small savers, those who save a few hundred kronor every month for their pension, or a first apartment, or to build up a buffer for the future.” 

Swedish vocab: en buffert – a buffer 

 

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