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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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

More ID checks for foreigners, SAS shares plummet and MPs pose with Kurdish terror group flag. Find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup on Wednesday.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
PKK supporters demonstrate against Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and demand the release of the PKK's leader. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

SAS shares plummet in Stockholm after US bankruptcy proceedings 

Shares in the troubled Scandinavian airline SAS fell 10 percent in Stockholm after it announced that it would start bankruptcy proceedings in the US. 

“We simply need to do much more and do it much faster,” SAS chairman Carsten Dilling told a press conference where he  defended what he called “a well thought-through decision.”

In the US, Chapter 11 is a mechanism allowing a company to restructure its debts under court supervision while continuing to operate.

The move was made in order “to proceed with the implementation of key elements” of its business transformation plan, the troubled carrier, which employs nearly 7,000 people, said in a statement.

Swedish vocab: ett rekonstruktionsförfarande – a reconstruction process

Sweden to boost stop-and-search of immigrants in Sweden 
 
Sweden’s police and coastguards are to be given powers to search people for passports and other ID if they refuse to voluntarily help verify that they have the right to live or work in Sweden. 
 
“The ability to carry out body searches is critical if we are going to be able to identify foreigners who do not voluntarily agree to demonstrate that they have the right to be in the country,” she said. 
 
– Möjlighet till kroppsvisitering är avgörande för att kunna identifiera en utlänning som inte frivilligt medverkar till att klarlägga om han eller hon har rätt att vistas i landet. Givetvis kommer det att krävas en grundad misstanke för att visitera människor, säger Andersson.

Swedish vocab: kroppsvisitering – a physical body search  

Nato begins ratification process for Swedish membership 

Nato on Tuesday kicked off momentous accession procedures for Sweden and Finland, aiming to expand the military alliance to 32 countries in reaction to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

But the alliance has no current plans to send troops to Sweden and Finland once they complete the membership process
, the defensive alliance’s deputy chief told AFP on Tuesday.

“We don’t plan to have an additional presence in either country, they have formidable national forces. They’re capable of defending themselves,” Deputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoana said in a telephone interview.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned last week that “if military contingents and military infrastructure were deployed there, we would be obliged to respond symmetrically and raise the same threats for those territories where threats have arisen for us”.

Geoana said that “we don’t plan to have Nato bases in these two countries, because they have a very high level of military and strategic maturity”.

After the accession process was launched Tuesday, it is up to parliaments in all 30 member states to ratify Oslo and Helsinki’s membership of the Atlantic alliance.

Denmark and Canada ratify Swedish Nato membership 

Denmark and Canada both ratified Sweden and Finland’s membership on Tuesday, just hours after the ratification process was launched. 

“I’m proud that Denmark has hit our goals of welcoming Finland and Sweden into Nato as fast as we have,” said Denmark’s foreign minister Jeppe Kofod. 

“We are stronger together,” Canadian foreign minister, Mélanie Joly, wrote on Twitter. 

Norway’s foreign minister, Anniken Huitfeldt, has signed the protocol after it was approved in advance by the country’s parliament, and it will be submitted to Nato on Wednesday.

Estonia’s Prime Minister, Kaja Kallas, is calling in her country’s parliament to ratify the protocol on Wednesday. 

Swedish vocab: att skriva under – to sign  

Left Party MPs pose with flag of Kurdish party classed as terror organisation

Nooshi Dadgostar, the leader of Sweden’s Left Party, posed for photos on Tuesday while waving the flag of the PKK, the Kurdish group classed as a terror organisation by the US and EU, as well as by Sweden. 

The Left Party MPS Daniel Riazat, Momodou Malcolm Jallow and Lorena Delgado Varas held up the flag for a photo that was then published in the Aftonbladet newspaper. 

“We are not backing down over this,” said Lorena Delgado Varas to the newspaper. “These are organisations that are resistance movements, which have a democrat organisation, a feminist organisation, in a context where Turkey is a dictatorship.” 

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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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

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