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WHAT CHANGES IN SWEDEN

What changes in Sweden in August 2022?

Swedes go back to work and school, travel chaos looks set to continue and a possible Covid peak. Here's what changes in Sweden in August 2022.

What changes in Sweden in August 2022?
No crayfish party is complete without crayfish-themed decorations, hats and bibs. Photo: Carolina Romare/imagebank.sweden.se

THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Swedes return to work – and the school year starts

In August, Swedes start heading back to the office after their summer holidays, where the majority of workers take at least a couple of weeks off during July. This means that replies to all those unanswered emails you’ve sent over the last few weeks will start ticking into your inbox as Sweden’s workers return to their desks.

In a similar vein, kids will go back to school in August, although the exact date when schools go back varies depending on where you live in the country.

Travel chaos in Europe

The chaotic travel situation seen during the past few months looks set to continue, with airports throughout Europe likely to remain busy during August. Airlines across the continent have cancelled more than 25,000 flights from their August schedule, and strikes affecting several airlines and airports in other European countries will also affect Swedish travellers planning on taking a late summer holiday.

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: Airlines cancel 15,000 flights in August

Risk of Covid-19 peak hitting Sweden in August

According to Sweden’s Public Health Agency, the amount of people infected with Covid-19 in the country could peak in mid-August. During the summer, infection rates have increased week-on-week, with more than half of Sweden’s regions reporting an increase in cases.

This is in part due to the high number of Swedes about to return to work following their summer holidays in July.

“It usually takes around two weeks from returning to work for there to be a noticeable increase,” Karin Tegmark Wisell, the Agency’s general director, told TT news wire.

Having said that, Tegmark Wisell believes the risk of having to introduce new restrictions or close schools is low.

“We can’t rule local outbreaks out,” she told TT. “In a situation where teaching can’t be carried out, the school could decide to close independently of Covid-19 legislation.”

 

NEW LAWS AND REGULATIONS

Hike in pay-outs to poorest pensioners 

Pensioners in Sweden will receive an extra 1,000 kronor per month from August, and will also receive an extra housing bonus, under changes driven negotiated by the Left Party in exchange for backing Magdalena Andersson as Prime Minister. 
 
Teachers can ban mobile phones in the classroom 
 
A change in Sweden’s school law means that pupils can only use their mobile phones during lessons if their teacher gives them instructions to do so. Teachers have also been given increased powers to seize pupils’ mobile phones and to bring in mobile phone free school days. 
 

A ban on unregistered pre-paid mobile phones

Pre-paid SIM cards, known in Swedish as kontantkort or cash cards, will require registration with information including the owner’s name and personal identity number (personnummer) from August 1st. 

The new rules could present difficulties for people without a personnummer, such as foreign nationals who have recently moved to Sweden, since a personal identity number is needed to set up a phone contract.

Existing pre-paid sims will continue to work without registration until February next year. 

Tougher penalties for rape and buying sex 

From August 1st, Sweden is bringing in tougher penalties for a range of sexual crimes. The minimum jail sentence for rape and child rape rises from two years to three. Being caught buying sex will always come with a jail sentence, rather than just a fine.

The minimum sentence for child sex abuse rises from the shortest possible prison sentence to six months behind bars, as does the minimum for ‘exploiting children through the purchase of sexual acts’. The minimum sentence for making children pose sexually rises from a fine to imprisonment. 

Lower threshold for deporting criminals 

From August 1st, Sweden’s government is making it easier for criminals who are foreign citizens to be deported from Sweden after serving their sentence. Criminals can now be deported for less serious crimes than previously, and they will need to give a higher level of evidence that they are established in Sweden for this to be a defence. There will also no longer be a ban on deporting criminals who came to Sweden as children. Read the full list of changes here (in Swedish). 

Better rules for international female same-sex parents  

A woman who is or has been married to another woman who has a child in Sweden will now automatically be considered the child’s parent, under a change designed to make Sweden’s parenting laws more equal. The change will mean that international female same-sex couples who come to Sweden will enjoy a similar status as parents under Swedish law as couples consisting of a man and a woman. The new law comes into force on August 1st. 

New EU regulations to protect children caught in cross-border parental disputes

On August 1st, the EU’s new Brussels II regulation, which is designed to protect children caught in cross-border parental disputes, comes into force in Sweden. Among other changes, the new regulation imposes deadlines on courts in all EU countries when handling international child abduction cases. All courts must decide on returning a child to the parent with the right of custody within six weeks, with a further six weeks allowed for appeal. The regulations also require that the opinions of children who can express themselves play a role in proceedings. Read about the rules here

You can see a full list of new laws coming into force on August 1st here.

Municipalities required to offer ‘cohesive adult education’ to adult immigrants 

From August 1st, all municipalities are required to offer a ‘cohesive adult education’ to all adults arriving in Sweden who are covered by the Swedish Public Employment Service’s Establishment Programme.  Under the new rule municipalities must offer an average of 23 hours of education a week over a four-week period, which will include parts of the Swedish For Immigrants (SFI) course, a ‘civic orientation’ course, and other education within the municipal adult education departments. 

 

FESTIVALS

Crayfish parties

Unfortunately there are no public holidays in August, although this doesn’t mean there’s nothing to celebrate. Crayfish season traditionally starts on August 7th in Sweden, so be prepared for crayfish-themed decorations to start popping up in your local supermarket, and find some friends (preferably with access to a summer house) to hold your very own kräftskiva (crayfish party).

As with most Swedish celebrations, expect drinking songs, lots of snaps, crispbread, cheese, and most likely some sort of västerbottenpaj – a quiche featuring Sweden’s favourite cheese, västerbottensost.

Here’s our guide to six essential Swedish drinking songs for crayfish party season.

Stockholm Pride

Pride is also kicking off in Stockholm next month. Celebrations will begin on August 1st and carry on until August 7th. This year’s theme is Dags att bekänna färg (Time to profess colour) and will feature a parade on Saturday August 6th, as well as events, music and parties in Pride Park (Östermalms IP) between Wednesday August 3rd and Saturday August 6th.

Here’s a link to the programme (in Swedish).

Malmöfestivalen

For those based in the south of the country, Malmöfestivalen will be taking place from August 12th-19th. The festival will include music, activities for children, dance and art, as well as food stalls.

Way Out West

Not to leave Gothenburg off the list, Way Out West music festival will also be taking place in August, between the 11th and 19th. Unlike Pride and Malmöfestivalen, this festival isn’t free, but at the time of writing there are still tickets available.

Artists performing at the festival this year include Tame Impala, Chance the Rapper, Jamie XX, First Aid Kit and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.

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For members

WHAT CHANGES IN SWEDEN

EXPLAINED: Everything that changes in Sweden in July 2022

New powers to shut schools, a ban on rowdy people in libraries, and more money for the poorest pensioners: There's a lot changing in Sweden this July. Here are twelve of the big things you should know about.

EXPLAINED: Everything that changes in Sweden in July 2022

Schoolchildren (and most adults) on holiday throughout Sweden 

With schools across Sweden finishing the school year in the last two weeks of June, almost all children in Sweden are on holiday throughout July. Most adults in Sweden also take at least three weeks off in the summer, starting either in the first or second week of July. So if you’re not taking time off, be warned: it can be difficult to get any responses from people you work with, either inside your own company, or in other companies in July. 

Almedalen political festival gives boost to election campaign 

The Almedalen political festival on the island of Gotland will take place from July 3rd to July 7th. The festival, started by the Social Democrat prime minister Olof Palme in 1968, is the highlight of the political calendar in Sweden, and is particularly important during an election year. This year, the leaders of all eight of the Sweden’s parliamentary parties will participate. 

The Local will also be in Visby, Gotland’s capital, for the event to report on the main speeches, and also record a special episode of our Sweden in Focus podcast. 

CRIME

New terror law comes into force 

A tougher and simpler terror law comes into force in Sweden on July 1st. The new law removes the limitation period for less serious terror crimes, meaning those suspected of crimes can be prosecuted long after they were committed. It increases the maximum sentence for “associating with a terror organisation” from six to seven years in prison, and it doubles the minimum sentence for “financing, publicly encouraging, recruiting for” terrorism increased from six months to one year. 

Tougher punishment for child rape 

The minimum punishment for those found guilty of raping children has been increased by one year, from two years in prison to three. 

The new law also expands the definition of “making children pose sexually” for photographs online so that it encompasses poses where the child is entirely passive. 

Crown witnesses and better witness protection 

From July 1st, Sweden will bring in a crown witness system which will mean those who testify against their accomplices in a crime or criminal network can receive a lower punishment as a reward. The system, announced in a press release in January, is resigned to help “break the culture of silence” in some parts of Swedish society.  

The new law also increases witness protection, with the location of those who testify by video link in court kept secret. 

Libraries and swimming pools can ban rowdy customers 

From July 1st, public libraries and swimming pools will be empowered to impose a ban or tillträdesförbud on visitors who are disruptive and argumentative. The bans need to be based on an assessment of the risk of crime and of serious harassment, as well as the risk for disturbing the public order. A similar power already exists for those running shops. 

 
TAX AND BENEFITS 
 
Minimum level for guarantee pension hiked by 1000 kronor 

The basic level for Sweden’s so-called guarantee pension will be increased by 1,000 kronor from July 1st, but the extra money will only be paid out to the pensioners affected in August. 

Extra payment for families receiving housing benefit 
 
Families with children who are eligible for housing benefit will receive up to 1,325 kronor extra (€124) each month under a measure brought in as part of the spring budget to help people in Sweden deal with the effects of inflation. About 124,000 households in Sweden are eligible for housing budget. 
 
The extra payment for families with housing allowance will apply until the end of December, and will be set at 25 percent of the housing allowance payment received each month. 
 
Farmers can claim tax rebate on diesel 
 
From July 1st, farmers in Sweden can apply for a tax rebate on all diesel they have used between January 1st and June 30th.  The rebate is part of the support package for agricultural companies the government agreed with the Centre Party in April. 
 
ENVIRONMENT

Sweden to ban all extraction of coal, oil and natural gas 

From July 1st, Sweden is banning all extraction of coal, oil, and natural gas on its territory. The decision, announced at the Stockholm +50 conference last month, has been criticised as being purely symbolic, as Sweden does not currently produce any of these fuels. 

Most expensive electric cars lose their “climate bonus” 

Electric cars which cost more than 700,000 kronor will no longer receive the government’s climate bonus from July 12th, under changes to the so-called bonus-malus system for cars in Sweden. 

In other changes to the rules, cars fuelled by biogas may also be eligible to receive a bonus, while the bonus payment to companies will be capped to 35 percent of the price difference between the electric car purchased and the the nearest comparable conventional car.

The new rules will also reduce the threshold for CO2 emissions from 60g CO2/km to 50g CO2/km, meaning some petrol and diesel cars which were not penalised previously will now start to be penalised.

EDUCATION

Swedish Schools Inspectorate gains powers to shut down schools 

From July 1st, the The Swedish Schools Inspectorate will be able to force municipalities to shut down schools if they fail to implement its recommendations. 

If a school has received an injunction from the inspectorate as a result of serious failings, and then does not implement the recommendations made in the decision, and has shown a lack of ability or willingness to fulfill its obligations, the inspectorate can order it to be closed. 

IMMIGRATION

New rules on sharing refugees between municipalities come in on July 1st 

New rules come into force on July 1st which will see municipalities required to share responsibility for providing accommodation to an estimated 23,500 Ukrainian refugees. The new guidelines have been drawn up to prevent a repeat of the situation in 2015 and 2016, when some municipalities ended up having to house a disproportionately large share of the refugees arriving in Sweden. The motion was voted through by parliament on June 21st. 

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