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

Midday strike deadline, falling property, and PM's Almedalen speech: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
Norwegian state mediator Mats Wilhelm Ruland meets the press outside the talks in Stockholm on Saturday. Photo: Chris Anderson/TT

SAS unions to call strike at midday if no deal is reached 

Scandinavian airline SAS has until midday on Monday to reach an agreement with pilot unions in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, if it wants to avoid a strike that could see as many as 30,000 passengers stranded each day. 

Talks were extended over the weekend, after a deadline of midnight on Friday was reached without a deal. 

On Sunday, Jan Levi Skogvang, head of SAS’s Norwegian pilot union, said that there had at least been progress. 

“We are working at a good tempo, so there’s at least some movement and good will on both sides,” he said. “That doesn’t mean that there’s agreement on everything. There are a still a lot of points that need to get solved.” 

SAS’s negotiations chief said that the two sides still “stand a lot way from one another”.

Swedish Vocab: en tidsfrist – a deadline 

Swedish PM makes nationalist speech at Almedalen festival

Swedish Prime Minister Sweden’s prime minister went all out with a strongly nationalist message in her speech at the Almedalen political festival, presenting the Social Democrats as defenders of Swedish values the right-wing parties seek to destroy.

“I love Sweden and I’m proud to be Swedish,” she declared, while acknowledging that it was unusual in Sweden to express your love for your country, in such a bold, heart-on-sleeve, way. 

It wasn’t just the country she loved, she went on, but its values, of “thoroughness, duty, and common sense”, of equality, the rule of law, and social trust. 

“We are a country where men take child leave and look after children, a country where women work, and can become prime minister,” she said, to a loud round of applause. 

She then painted a grim picture of the country’s future, “if the right-wing conservative parties get to rule”. 

“Sweden will become something different,” she said. “A Sweden where one group is set against another, one person against another. A country where social divisions grow and polarisation increases, where the number of luxury yachts rises but the number of school counsellors falls, where trust is eroded, both for one another and for society.” 

“The right-wing conservatives say they want to preserve our country, but in reality,” she warned, “they want to attack exactly those things we love about Sweden.”

Swedish Vocab: noggrannheten – thoroughness, accuracy

Property prices fall in June across Sweden 

The price of detached houses and apartments fell across Sweden in June, extending the falls seen in May. According to the HPI housing index put together by the state-owned mortgage lender SBAB and the Booli property website, the prices in the north of Sweden falling 5.3 percent, in greater Gothenburg 4.3 percent and in greater Stockholm 4.2 percent.
Swedish Vocab: i samtliga regioner – in all regions

Sweden refuses to deny deportations to Turkey as part of Nato deal

On Sunday Sweden’s Prime Minister refused to deny Turkey’s claim that it had promised to deport individuals as part of Stockholm’s efforts to join Nato.

Despite questioning by journalists and concerns among Kurdish and Turkish refugees in Sweden, Andersson would not say whether such a commitment had been given to Ankara for it to lift objections to Sweden’s membership.

“I’ve been a minister for eight years and I never talked about what is said in the negotiation room,” she said. “(That) actually puts me in a bit of a difficult situation right now,” she added.

In an agreement signed by Stockholm and Helsinki at a NATO summit in Madrid on Tuesday, the two Nordic countries agreed to examine Turkish extradition requests “expeditiously and thoroughly”.

No promise has been given to actually carry out the extraditions, and Finland and Sweden have since recalled that the process is in the hands of the authorities and independent courts.

Swedish Vocab: i förhandlingsrum – at the negotatiating table 

Swedish PM pledges to ban profit making at free schools

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson has pledged to stop companies withdrawing profits from schools, in what is likely to be one of the Social Democrats’ main campaigning issues in the coming election campaign.

The proposal, one of three measures announced to “take back democratic control over the school system”, was launched on the first day of the Almedalen political festival on the island of Gotland.

Banning profits from schools is an obvious campaigning issue for the Social Democrats. The latest poll by Gothenburg University’s SOM Institute found that fully 67 percent of voters support such a ban.

The only issue is that the Centre Party, whose support the Social Democrats will need to form a government, is likely to block a future Social Democrat government from implementing it, something Andersson acknowledged

“What I know is that there’s a very strong support for this among the Swedish people, but not in the Swedish parliament,” she said. 

Read our story here

Swedish Vocab: ett kryphål – a loophole


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

Covid hits hospitals, storms in Western Sweden, and Social Democrats launch campaign: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

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

Covid resurgence putting hospitals under pressure

Hospitals are under pressure in many areas of Sweden after a resurgence in Covid-19 infections coincides with the summer holiday months, the Public Health Agency has said in press conference. 

“There are more patients in hospital both with and being treated for Covid-19 than in past summers, which is affecting healthcare now during the holiday season,” Sara Byfors, a unit chief at the agency said on Thursday. “This also means that a lot of people who work in healthcare and who are sick need to stay home.” 

Infection rates have risen significantly in recent weeks, with 5,200 cases a week in the two weeks leading up to July 24th, compared to 1,000 cases in the first week of June, but Byfors stressed that there were still far fewer patients being treated for Covid-19 than in previous peaks of infection, with 13 Covid deaths on the worst day this June, compared to a peak of 121 deaths a day in the first Covid-19 wave in 2020. 

Swedish Vocab: ett dödsfall – a death 

Storms tear off roofs and blow down trees in western Sweden 

On Thursday evening, storms and heavy rain hit much of Sweden, with rescue services reporting roofs being blown off and trees blown over in Töreboda in the Västergötland region near Gothenburg. According to rescue services, the storm has weakened as it moved to the East. 

“It was at its worst in the evening. If we look later on in the night, we can see that it has calmed down somewhat, when we talk about lightning in any case. There are still some powerful downpours here and there,” said Ulrica Sievert, a meteorologist at state forecaster SMHI. 

SMHI has not removed the storm warnings it had up on its website yesterday. 

Swedish vocab: åskväder – thunderstorms

Sweden’s ruling Social Democrats launch ‘presidential’ election campaign

The Social Democrats rolled out their election campaign on Thursday, focusing heavily on leader Magdalena Andersson, law and order, and jobs, and dropping the environment as a priority.

In a press conference held by party secretary Tobias Baudin, the ruling Social Democrats revealed their campaign posters for the upcoming election on September 11th.

Baudin also explained the Social Democrats’ goal for the upcoming election.

“Formally, our goal is to get a better result than last time, where we got 28.3%,” he said. “We’ve got good hopes of breaking that with a good margin. Our focus, and my focus, obviously, is to get as many votes as possible.”

“The more votes we get, the better chance we have of carrying out the policies we are going into the election with.”

He did, however, indicate that the party could be open to forming a coalition government following September’s election.

“Our goal is to form a Social Democrat government or a Social Democrat-led government after the election,” he said.

“We can work with all parties apart from the Sweden Democrats, but obviously those who are closest to us are the Greens, the Left Party and the Centre Party”.

Swedish Vocab: presidentvalskamp – a presidential election campaign 

Swedish opposition leader: ‘We are agreed enough on the big issues’

Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson kicked off his party’s election campaign on Thursday, with a speech that presented himself as the only candidate backed by a coalition of parties with a common programme.

In a speech in front of four hundred Moderate party members in the city of Norrköping, Kristersson said that unlike ruling the Social Democrats, his party was backed by three other parties that were agreed on enough to get necessary reforms enacted in government.

“We have slowly but surely built a team on our side of politics which is ready and has both the will and the ability,” he said. “Four different parties which are not agreed on everything, but which are sufficiently agreed on the big issues to together get results.”

He reiterated the praise he had given to the populist Sweden Democrats party in his speech at the Almedalen political festival at the start of July.

“No other party has warned as consistently as the Sweden Democrats that Sweden cannot continue to increase immigration if we want to handle the problems with integration,” he said. “And that’s something I appreciate.”

Swedish vocab: de stora sakfrågorna – the big issues