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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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

SAS deal, heatwave to hit, Erdogan threat, and recycled plastic: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
A plastic recyling centre in Motala. Photo: Magnus Andersson/TT

SAS and pilot union reach agreement, ending strike

A 15-day strike was ended after the airline and pilot unions reached an agreement early on Tuesday, AFP reported.

“I am pleased to report that we now have come to an agreement with all four pilot unions for SAS Scandinavia and the strike has ended,” chief executive Anko van der Werff said in a statement, according to AFP.

The new agreement will last for five and a half years. This comes after nearly 1,000 pilots went on strike earlier this month, affecting hundreds of thousands of passengers worldwide. As of the tenth day of the strike, more than 2,500 flights had been cancelled, and the strike had cost the airline 1 to 1.3 billion Swedish kronor ($94 million to $123 million, or 94 million to 123 million euros). One day after the strike began, SAS filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States.

Under the new agreement, 450 pilots laid off during the Covid-19 pandemic will be re-hired. An earlier decision by SAS not to re-hire these pilots, along with disagreements between the union and the airline over salary negotiations, triggered the strike on July 4.

Swedish vocab: en överenskommelse – an agreement

Erdogan again threatens Sweden’s Nato bid

Speaking on Monday, Erdogan said he would once more freeze the Nato membership process for Sweden if Turkey’s conditions were not met. Erdogan has called for Sweden and Finland to stop providing a haven for outlawed Kurdish militants.

“I want to reiterate once again that we will freeze the process if these countries do not take the necessary steps to fulfil our conditions”, Erdogan said, speaking ahead of a three-way summit between Turkey, Russia and Iran. “We particularly note that Sweden does not have a good image on this issue”.

Turkey had previously blocked Swedish and Finnish applications to join Nato, and only agreed to let the countries’ applications continue after reaching a deal that addressed Erdogan’s concerns. He has previously accused the Nordic countries of promoting “terrorism” by providing residence to Kurdish militants.

Swedish vocab: ett toppmöte – a summit

Europe’s heatwave is coming for Sweden

The heatwave pummelling Southern Europe and Great Britain is moving north toward Sweden, Dagens Nyheter reported.

The heatwave is caused in part by jet streams separating cold air moving toward Europe from the north, and the warm air from southern Europe moving north, according to Sweden’s meteorological agency’s Ulrica Sievert.

“The jet stream runs between Iceland and the British Isles and then further towards southern Norway and Sweden,” Sievert told Dagens Nyheter. “This means that the jet stream is relatively northern and right now it is holding the polar air north of Great Britain.”

This warm air is moving further north now, toward Sweden, where temperatures are expected to hit highs of up to 35 degrees on Wednesday. This heat is expected to be short-lived, with temperatures dropping again on Thursday.

Swedish Vocab: jetströmmen – the jet stream

Volvo shows strong profits this quarter

Volvo has reported strong profits this quarter of SEK 13.873 million, compared with SEK 11.265 million at the same time last year.

Large demand for the company’s vehicles have filled up order books around the world, Volvo CEO Martin Lundstedt wrote in his remarks on the company’s quarterly report, according to TT.

“In order to manage the quality of the order books and cost inflation, we continue to be restrictive in placing orders for production,” Lundsted wrote. “Rising inflation and rising interest rates have also increased uncertainty about the economic outlook and we have a high focus on flexibility to adapt to possible changes in demand.”

Swedish Vocab: ett fordon – a vehicle

Sweden burns almost all plastic waste

Nearly all plastic waste in Sweden is burned, Dagens Nyheter has reported, but this concerns industrial waste rather than the household waste sorted by individuals into recycling bins each week, 

Industries like construction and demolition generate the vast majority of the plastic waste that is burned in Sweden. Plastic items that cannot be reused or recycled into new plastic packaging are incinerated, but the energy generated by the burning process is captured and put to use. Unrecycled plastic in Sweden cannot be put into landfill, which are illegal in Sweden.

Swedish Vocab: att förbjuda – to forbid

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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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