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

New rules for e-scooters, Swedish tax breaks for properties in Spain and woman accidentally pronounced dead. Here's Sweden's news on Friday.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
Frigiliana in Malaga southern Spain. Photo: Frank Fell/AFP/TT

Woman accidentally pronounced dead for six days

A woman was accidentally pronounced dead after visiting her doctor. She noticed the mistake had been made after her BankID stopped working.

“I was shocked, angry, how could this happen? What happens to my pension? Do I still exist anywhere?,” the woman said to public broadcaster SVT in Skåne.

Doctors at Skåne University Hospital in Malmö had accidentally submitted a death certificate for the woman, who was pronounced dead for six days before she discovered the mistake had occurred.

But the issue has taken much longer to fix. More than six months after she was pronounced dead, she’s still not sure if she is still listed on all the government registers she should be.

The hospital has now reported itself to the Health and Social Care Inspectorate (IVO) who will investigate the accident, radio P4 Malmöhus reports.

Swedish vocabulary: dödförklarad – pronounced dead

Swedish tax breaks for household maintenance paid out for holiday homes in Spain

In recent years, the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) has paid out 136 million kronor to Spanish companies renovating and cleaning Swedes’ holiday homes in Spain, Sydsvenskan reports.

The tax breaks, known as rotavdrag for renovations and rutavdrag for domestic services like cleaning, were originally introduced to combat illicit labour in Sweden.

However, Swedes abroad are also able to use the service, meaning that the state pays a portion of labour costs for labourers, cleaners and other household services to companies abroad.

“I think it’s wrong that Swedish taxes are being used like this,” Kristina Gauthier Reberg, who used the rotavdrag when she renovated her apartment in Gran Canaria, told Sydsvenskan.

Pia Blank Thörnroos, tax lawyer at the Tax Agency, said that when the tax breaks were introduced some years ago, politicians debated whether it should only apply to properties in Sweden.

“But there were concerns that Sweden would be accused of putting obstacles in the way of the free movement of goods and services within the EU,” she said.

Last year, the Tax Agency paid out 16.8 billion kronor in rot- and rutavdrag, according to Sydsvenskan. The amount of money paid out to Swedes with properties abroad represents 0.2 percent of this figure.

Swedish vocabulary: avdrag – (tax) reduction

‘Playtime’s over’: Sweden to introduce new law on e-scooters

Sweden’s infrastructure minister Tomas Eneroth has announced that, from the 1st of September, it will be illegal to ride e-scooters on pavements.

Eneroth made the announcement at a government event on July 28th.

“Now I can inform you that it’s the end of the line for e-scooters on pavements,” he said.

“It increases the risk of accidents. I have seen myself how anxious it makes many elderly people and people with disabilities when e-scooters rush past at high speed”, he said.

Eneroth added that it’s not a “human right” for people to make a mess by parking e-scooters wherever they like.

“There needs to be order on the roads. Playtime’s over.”

The rules mean that, from September 1st, you can get fined for riding an e-scooter on the pavement.

The decision comes into place at the same time as a rule that forbids parking e-scooters on pavements and cycle lanes.

With these new measures, e-scooters will now follow the same rules as traditional bicycles.

“Together, these new rules will improve the accessibility and safety for everyone who walks on pavements”, Eneroth added.

Swedish vocabulary: elsparkcykel – e-scooter

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

Sweden's next PM gets two weeks, security police take over gas leak probe, and forecaster predicts zero growth: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

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

Moderate leader given two weeks to form next government

Ulf Kristersson, Sweden’s likely next PM, has been given two weeks to strike a deal with the Sweden Democrats, Christian Democrats, and Liberal parties over forming a government after meeting the parliament’s speaker on Wednesday.

Kristersson met Andreas Norlén, who was voted back in for a second term as Speaker on Monday, at 11am to give what he described as “a fairly detailed” description of how far the negotiations had progressed. 

“In summary, it’s a good situation, we have had constructive discussions,” he said. 

Kristersson said in a press conference that he had proposed a two-week period for further talks, with a meeting with Norlén after a week to report on the week’s progress.
Norlén later accepted his proposal. 
Sweden’s Säpo security police take over pipeline blast investigation
Sweden’s Säpo security police force has taken over the investigation into explosions at the Nord Stream undersea gas pipeline. The Swedish Coast Guard’s underwater drones are already near the site of the explosions and able to go down and look for evidence. 
“Säpo is taking over the investigation because this could be a case of a serious crime which at least partly is directed at Swedish interests. It is also not possible to rule out the involvement of foreign powers,” the agency said in a press release.
The coast guard’s KBV 003 Amfitrite vehicle is waiting for the signal from the police to send down underwater drones to search for evidence.
“This is not a decision we take ourselves, but if one of the coordinating agencies thinks it would be interesting to get pictures from the leakage area, we are able to help,” said Jimmie Broth, a rescue operation leader with the agency.

Swedish vocab: en undervattensfarkost – an underwater vehicle/submarine

Sweden’s economic forecaster now expects zero growth next year 

Sweden’s National Institute of Economic Research, the official government economics forecaster, has warned that Sweden faces an economic slump next year that will see economic growth grind to a complete stop. 

With greater than expected energy prices, interest rate rises and inflation, the institute has shaved 1.6 percentage points off its forecast for growth in 2023, leaving GDP flat for the year, at -0.1 percent in market prices, and at 0.1 percent corrected in calendar terms. 

The institute now expects unemployment of 7.7 percent in 2023, up from the forecast of 7.5 percent from June. 

Swedish vocab: en revidering – a reassessment 

Swedish nuclear plants “on alert” after pipeline attacks

Sweden’s nuclear power stations at Ringhals and Forsmark have been put on “extra vigilance”, as a result of the leaks at the Nordstream 1 and 2 pipelines. 

“The threat scenario for Sweden has widened and deepened and is both military and civil,” Sweden’s Säpo security police said in a statement. 

The nuclear power stations were put on high alert following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but were returned to a normal footing later on. 

Swedish vocab: skärpt uppmärksamhet – high alert (literally “sharpened vigilance”) .