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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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

Covid hits hospitals, storms in Western Sweden, and Social Democrats launch campaign: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
A car drives across a flooded crossing in Malmö. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Covid resurgence putting hospitals under pressure

Hospitals are under pressure in many areas of Sweden after a resurgence in Covid-19 infections coincides with the summer holiday months, the Public Health Agency has said in press conference. 

“There are more patients in hospital both with and being treated for Covid-19 than in past summers, which is affecting healthcare now during the holiday season,” Sara Byfors, a unit chief at the agency said on Thursday. “This also means that a lot of people who work in healthcare and who are sick need to stay home.” 

Infection rates have risen significantly in recent weeks, with 5,200 cases a week in the two weeks leading up to July 24th, compared to 1,000 cases in the first week of June, but Byfors stressed that there were still far fewer patients being treated for Covid-19 than in previous peaks of infection, with 13 Covid deaths on the worst day this June, compared to a peak of 121 deaths a day in the first Covid-19 wave in 2020. 

Swedish Vocab: ett dödsfall – a death 

Storms tear off roofs and blow down trees in western Sweden 

On Thursday evening, storms and heavy rain hit much of Sweden, with rescue services reporting roofs being blown off and trees blown over in Töreboda in the Västergötland region near Gothenburg. According to rescue services, the storm has weakened as it moved to the East. 

“It was at its worst in the evening. If we look later on in the night, we can see that it has calmed down somewhat, when we talk about lightning in any case. There are still some powerful downpours here and there,” said Ulrica Sievert, a meteorologist at state forecaster SMHI. 

SMHI has not removed the storm warnings it had up on its website yesterday. 

Swedish vocab: åskväder – thunderstorms

Sweden’s ruling Social Democrats launch ‘presidential’ election campaign

The Social Democrats rolled out their election campaign on Thursday, focusing heavily on leader Magdalena Andersson, law and order, and jobs, and dropping the environment as a priority.

In a press conference held by party secretary Tobias Baudin, the ruling Social Democrats revealed their campaign posters for the upcoming election on September 11th.

Baudin also explained the Social Democrats’ goal for the upcoming election.

“Formally, our goal is to get a better result than last time, where we got 28.3%,” he said. “We’ve got good hopes of breaking that with a good margin. Our focus, and my focus, obviously, is to get as many votes as possible.”

“The more votes we get, the better chance we have of carrying out the policies we are going into the election with.”

He did, however, indicate that the party could be open to forming a coalition government following September’s election.

“Our goal is to form a Social Democrat government or a Social Democrat-led government after the election,” he said.

“We can work with all parties apart from the Sweden Democrats, but obviously those who are closest to us are the Greens, the Left Party and the Centre Party”.

Swedish Vocab: presidentvalskamp – a presidential election campaign 

Swedish opposition leader: ‘We are agreed enough on the big issues’

Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson kicked off his party’s election campaign on Thursday, with a speech that presented himself as the only candidate backed by a coalition of parties with a common programme.

In a speech in front of four hundred Moderate party members in the city of Norrköping, Kristersson said that unlike ruling the Social Democrats, his party was backed by three other parties that were agreed on enough to get necessary reforms enacted in government.

“We have slowly but surely built a team on our side of politics which is ready and has both the will and the ability,” he said. “Four different parties which are not agreed on everything, but which are sufficiently agreed on the big issues to together get results.”

He reiterated the praise he had given to the populist Sweden Democrats party in his speech at the Almedalen political festival at the start of July.

“No other party has warned as consistently as the Sweden Democrats that Sweden cannot continue to increase immigration if we want to handle the problems with integration,” he said. “And that’s something I appreciate.”

Swedish vocab: de stora sakfrågorna – the big issues 

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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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

Training Ukrainian troops, pilots sign SAS deal, house prices, and election pledges: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup

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

SAS pilots approve new collective agreement

As many as 93 percent of the Danish SAS pilots have voted yes to the agreement which ended strike action but also means, among other things, redeployments, longer working weeks, and lower wages.

The union Dansk Metal announced the level of acceptance on Saturday morning. The pilots could have voted yes or no on the new collective agreement until midnight on Friday evening.

Pilots in Sweden and Norway have also approved the agreement.

Keld Bækkelund Hansen, head of negotiations at Dansk Metal, said “I am incredibly happy. It is a bit atypical to see that a collective agreement negotiation ends in agreements being made that reduce wages and conditions.”

“So, of course, it was exciting how our members viewed the new collective agreement. But they could also see that it was a necessity in relation to SAS’s situation,” he added.

Swedish vocab: att godkänna – to approve 

Majority of households believe house prices will fall 

A clear majority of 57 percent of house households in Sweden now believe house prices will fall, a six percentage points rise on the last month, according to the latest edition of the monthly house price indicator from the country’s SEB bank.  

“It’s clear that an increasingly harsh climate for private finances is affecting house price indications, which lie at the lowest level since the 2008 finance crisis,” said the bank’s private economist Américo Fernández in a press message.

Swedish vocab: kärva – harsh 

Christian Democrats call for national plan for maternity care 

The Christian Democrats have called for a national plan for maternity care, in an election pledge that it the party sees as the first stage in its plan to replace Sweden’s regional health authorities with a national health service. 

“Swedish healthcare is suffering from a system failure, which is spelled ‘regions'”, the party’s leader Ebba Busch, said in her summer speech ahead of September’s election. 

The plan would see the reopening of closed maternity clinics and wards, and a guarantee that threatened clinics and wards be kept open. 

Swedish vocab: att avskaffa – to abolish 

Liberals propose campaign to bring order to Swedish schools 

The Liberal Party has proposed a national campaign to bring order to Swedish schools, which the party is calling an ordningslyft, literally “order lift”. 

The campaign will include an “order contract”, signed by all pupils and parents, and five other proposals, of which two are new. 

The two new proposals are that the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) state clearly that pupils have a responsibility for order in schools, and must come in time for lessons, look after their school books, use decent language, and arrive rested for lessons. Parents also share responsibility, and must, for instance, come to parent-teacher meetings. 

Swedish vocab: förväntningar – expectations

Swedish Armed Forces to give 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers basic training 

Sweden has agreed to send 120 military officers to the UK, where they are expected to help train up to 10,000 Ukrainian citizens basic military training, under a scheme run by the UK. 

“This is important if Ukraine is going to be able to maintain and strengthen its ability to defend itself,” Sweden’s prime minister, Magdalena Andersson, said at a joint press conference with the country’s defence minister, Peter Hultqvist, on Sunday. 

The two made the announcement on a visit to the Armed Forces military base in Boden, northern Sweden. 

Sweden will never have more than 60 military instructors in the UK at any one time, and the scheme is expected to run from August 12th to December 31st. 

Swedish vocab: att upprätthålla – to maintain 

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