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

US approves Sweden's Nato application, increased interest in the army, and Volvo plans new battery plant. Here's Sweden's news on Thursday.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Baltops military training with Swedish and US soldiers in Tofta military zone. Photo: Yvonne Åsell/SvD/TT

Swedish army sees increased interest among the young

A new report from Ungdomsbarometern shows that more and more young people believe Swedish defence should receive more funding, SVT reports.

In addition to this, the Swedish Armed Forces has reported an increase in interest among young people in carrying out military service.

“When I was eighteen, I was a bit scared of the military,” 22-year-old Johannes Blom, who is carrying out military service at Livgardets Regement in northern Stockholm, told SVT.

“But it’s grown on me in recent years.”

Prior to the war in Ukraine, interest in carrying out military service decreased among the young, according to the Swedish Armed Forces. The reason is unclear, but it is clear that the downward trend was broken at the end of February.

One month later, in March, the amount of people interested in carrying out basic military training and military service had almost doubled, from 16 percent in February to 28 percent in March, according to figures from the Swedish Armed Forces.

Swedish vocabulary: värnplikt – military service

US approves Sweden’s Nato application – seven countries remain

The US Senate approved Sweden and Finland’s Nato applications with 95 votes to 1.

“It’s very satisfying. It’s only very positive for Sweden and shows confidence in both Sweden and Finland,” Foreign Minister Ann Linde told TT newswire.

After a debate lasting over three hours, senators voted in favour of ratifying Sweden and Finland’s applications to join the Nato defence alliance. The message arrived early on Thursday morning, Swedish time.

“It’s the largest and most important country in Nato, so of course it is important,” Linde said. “Now there are only seven countries left which have not ratified, it’s never gone so fast.”

The decision was also welcomed by Sweden’s Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson, who said on Twitter that the “swift vote in favour of our countries joining the alliance is greatly appreciated.”

Swedish vocabulary: godkänna – approve

Volvo plans new electric battery plant in Sweden

Swedish lorry and heavy equipment maker Volvo Group said on Wednesday it planned to open a new battery factory in Sweden to manufacture battery cells for heavy-duty vehicles and machines.

“There is a strong demand from our customers already today, and by 2030, it is our ambition that at least 35 percent of the products we sell are electric”, Volvo Group chief executive Martin Lundstedt said in a statement.

“This ramp-up will require large volumes of high-performing batteries, produced using fossil free energy and it is a logical next step for us to include battery production in our future industrial footprint”, he added.

The project, which is subject to approvals from relevant authorities, calls for the construction of a plant in Mariestad in southern Sweden, near Volvo’s main powertrain plant.

The site was chosen in order to “benefit from the region’s existing industrial and logistics infrastructure” and its access to Sweden’s “rich supply of fossil free energy”, the company said.

Volvo Group is a wholly-Swedish company that split in 1999 from automobile maker Volvo Cars, which is now owned by Chinese group Geely.

Swedish vocabulary: batterifabrik – battery factory

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

ADHD tests for immigrant kids, Turk deported, train problems, and ISA tax proposal, find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup

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

Moderates propose ADHD tests for all kids in vulnerable areas

The Moderate Party in Stockholm wants to rapid test all children in “vulnerable areas” for ADHD so that more can get diagnosed and given medication. 

The party stresses that the tests would be voluntary and would be carried out at primary care centres from the age of five onwards. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background are less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden, and that there is a link between childhood ADHD and violent crime later in life. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” said the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime 

Sweden extradites first Turk since striking Nato deal

Sweden’s government said on Thursday that it would hand over a Turkish citizen convicted of credit card fraud to Ankara, the first known extradition since Sweden struck a deal with Turkey promising to deal with extraditions “expeditiously and thoroughly”.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to block both Sweden and Finland from NATO membership unless they meet several demands, including the extradition of people Ankara considers “terrorists”.

Erdogan accuses the two countries of being havens for Kurdish militants, specifically highlighting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The man facing extradition was identified in Swedish court documents as Okan Kale, and was convicted in Turkey of credit card fraud in 2013 and 2016.

Swedish vocab: att utlämna – to deport 

Train problems to continue into autumn 

The Swedish Transport Administration is still facing problems with its new time table system, which, in combination with track work, will mean continuing train delays into the autumn,” Sweden’s state broadcaster SR has reported. 

The administration is supposed to draw up a plan on how trains should travel when there is track work 18 weeks in advance, but it is currently only able to do so two to four weeks in advance, which is making it difficult for train companies to sell train tickets. 

“This is something we are of course working intensively to improve,” Mikael Eriksson, the agency’s marketing chief, said, adding that most trains were not impacted by the track work, and that the planning system should be working properly by the end of the year. 

Swedish vocab: framförhållning – long-term planning 

Centre Party wants to remove tax from savings accounts

Sweden’s Centre Party has proposed scrapping tax on the first 30,000 kronor held by people in Sweden in Individual Savings Accounts, in order to encourage saving among Swedes, 

“A lot of people have only a small amount of extra money,” she says. “It would be simple to start saving and we want to especially benefit small savers, those who save a few hundred kronor every month for their pension, or a first apartment, or to build up a buffer for the future.” 

Swedish vocab: en buffert – a buffer