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

Automatic preschool for three-year olds, Centre Party set eyes on government, Swede on trial in Donetsk and Sweden Democrat U-turn on work permits. Here's Sweden's news on Tuesday.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
From left, British Andrew Hill and Dylan Healy, Croatian Vjekoslav Prebeg, British John Harding and Swedish Mathias Gustafsson are seen behind bars in a courtroom in Donetsk, city in eastern Ukraine. Photo: AP

Centre leader Annie Lööf open to minister role in Social Democrat government

The Centre Party would consider minister roles in a Social Democrat-led government, leader Annie Lööf said on Monday.

In an interview with newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN), Lööf also described Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson as the best prime ministerial candidate.

“I believe Magdalena Andersson has the leadership needed,” she said.

According to Lööf, Andersson has “noticeably better openness for cooperation,” than her rival, Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson, although Lööf also underlined the fact that her support is conditional on “policy anchored in the centre”.

When DN asked if this also meant the Centre would be open to governmental positions, Lööf said that the party “would like to be in government with the Social Democrats.”

“That’s presuming policy leans towards the centre.”

Lööf further repeated her previous line that the Centre Party are not interested in working together with the Left Party on a possible budget.

“The Centre Party is a right-wing liberal central party. We will not collaborate on the Left Party on a budget.”

Lööf did not rule out working together with her previous allies on the other side of the political divide, either.

“We are open to continued collaboration over bloc boundaries,” she said.

“But that’s conditional on the future prime minister being receptive to where the political majority are located.”

Swedish vocabulary: att ingå i en regering – to take part in a government

Sweden’s Social Democrats propose automatic preschool for three-year-olds

Sweden’s Social Democrats want to force municipalities to sign three year olds up for preschool if they or their parents have recently arrived in Sweden, in a move aimed at combatting segregation.

“We need a joint offensive to break the segregation which is tearing apart our country,” integration and migration minister Anders Ygeman said in a press conference announce a package of measures on Monday. 

His party, the Social Democrats, want to make it obligatory for municipalities to sign up all children over the age of three for preschool, if they or their parents have recently arrived in Sweden.

“We want more children with bad Swedish skills to start preschool, giving them a better chance of succeeding when they start school,” Ygeman said.

The measure would not be obligatory for parents, who would still be able to turn down a preschool place if offered one.

“We think that lots of parents will take this opportunity and we want it to be combined with outreach measures from the municipalities,” he said.

In addition to this, the Social Democrats want to force municipalities to contact residents who are eligible for SFI (Swedish for immigrants) classes in their area and encourage them to participate in classes.

Swedish vocabulary: bryta segregationen – break segregation

Trial begins for Swedish man in Donetsk

Five men captured in eastern Ukraine went on trial on Monday in a court administered by Kremlin-backed separatists in the city of Donetsk, Russian media reported.

The five — one Swedish, three British and one Croatian — all pleaded not guilty to charges of being mercenaries, according to Russian media reports.

They could face the death penalty under the laws of the self-proclaimed, unrecognised Donetsk People’s Republic.

The next court hearing in their case is scheduled for October, Russian media reported.

Three of the men were captured in the Ukrainian port of Mariupol and face possible execution for attempting to “seize power by force” and “taking part in armed conflict as mercenaries”, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

The other two face charges of being a mercenary and recruiting mercenaries for Ukraine, the news agency

On June 9, the supreme court of the self-proclaimed republic already sentenced two Brits and a Moroccan, all of whom were captured by pro-Russian forces in Ukraine’s industrial east, to death for being mercenaries. All three have appealed their verdicts.

There has been a moratorium on the death penalty in Russia since 1997, but it does not apply in the two separatist regions in Ukraine.

Swedish vocabulary: rättegången – the trial

Sweden Democrat leader: ‘We don’t want unions to control work permits’

The leader of the populist Sweden Democrats party has told The Local that he is opposed to Social Democrat plans to bring back ‘labour market testing’ for work permits, preferring to instead raise the salary threshold.

In an interview after holding his summer speech in his home town of Sölvesborg, Jimmie Åkesson told The Local that while his party believed Sweden’s system of work permits should be made stricter, he was now opposed to bringing back the old system of arbetsmarknadsprövning, or labour market testing, scrapped by the Moderate-led Alliance government in 2008, where labour unions worked together with government and employers to identify jobs and sectors where there is a labour shortage.

“We don’t want the unions to have the power to decide who gets permits to come to Sweden,” Åkesson said. “But we want society, in some way, [to] have to see if it’s needed or not, and exactly how we’re going to do that I cannot say at this time.”

He said he believed “a better solution” than a return of union involvement would be something similar to proposals made by the Christian Democrat and Moderate parties, who want to increase the minimum salary that those seeking work permits are being offered.

Åkesson’s views on work permits seem to contradict what is on the Sweden Democrats’ website, where it still states that the party wants “to reinstate government labour market testing, and a demand for qualifications, salary, and need”. 

Swedish vocabulary: arbetstillstånd – work permit

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For members


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

Speaker mystery, rock-bottom lobster prices, government talks, and a Centre Party leader candidate: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

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

Sweden Democrat candidate appointed deputy speaker on second attempt

Julia Kronlid, the Sweden Democrat who was the right-wing bloc’s candidate for second deputy speaker, was voted in on the second attempt on Monday afternoon, after the first left both candidates short of a majority.

On the second vote, Kronlid, who is second deputy leader of the Sweden Democrats, received 174 votes, compared to 47 for her Green Party rival Janine Alm Ericsson. The other MPs laid down their votes.

In the first vote on the post on Monday morning, Kronlid received 173 votes, while Ericsson received 49. As no candidate had a majority, the vote had to be held again.

The vote was held by a secret ballot, making it difficult to know which MPs voted against their party line on the first attempt, and leading to frenzied speculation.

Some blamed Liberal MPs wanting to protest the decision to back a Sweden Democrat for the role; some blamed Björn Söder, the Sweden Democrat who held the role in 2014-2018 and was passed over in favour of Kronlid; some even argued it was a ‘false flag’ operation by the Sweden Democrats to aid them in the ongoing government negotiations. 

Earlier in the day, a unanimous parliament voted the Moderate Party Speaker Andreas Norlén back into the position for another four years. 

Swedish vocab: enhällig – unanimous

Price crash for season’s first Swedish lobsters

The season’s first box of Swedish lobsters has plummeted more than ten-fold in price compared to last year, with the box going for just 7,000 kronor per kilogram at the fish auction in Gothenburg, a fraction of the 77,000 kronor recorded in 2021. 

The lobster fishing season began on Monday, following Swedish rules and tradition. The record price, of 102,000 kronor a kilogram, was set in 2012. 

Swedish vocab: en bråkdel – a fraction

Right bloc talks ‘going extremely well’: Moderate leader

Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson has said that the negotiations with the Christian Democrat, Sweden Democrat, and Liberal Parties over forming the next government were progressing smoothly with the shape of Sweden’s next government starting to look clear. 

“It’s going very well. We are moving forwards step by step,” he said after Speaker Andreas Norlén announced that he would call him in for an update on the talks on Wednesday.

Kristersson said he now had “a good idea” of how the next government would look, indicating that he may have reached a broad agreement on which political parties will be part of the new government. 

He said that the “big first step”, reaching agreement on the Speaker positions and the chairs and deputy chairs of parliamentary committees, had “not been difficult” and that all four parties “had been constructive”. 

Norlén on Monday would not say how long he would give Kristersson to come to an agreement with the other parties. He would take this decision after speaking with Kristersson on Wednesday he said, adding that it was important to have an orderly process. 

Swedish vocab: en ordnad process – an orderly process 

Centre Party politicians call for Helena Lindahl to take over as leader 

A group of 20 Centre Party politicians has called for Helena Lindahl, who broke party ranks and voted against Stefan Löfven as Prime Minister in January 2019, to succeed Annie Lööf as the party’s leader. 

In an article in the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper, the politicians said that the party’s poor result in September’s election “has to be seen as a collective failure”, and called for the party to “reestablish the party’s roots in the countryside.” 

The party, they argue, needs a leader with a clear centre-right profile who can turn the party into a “stronger, greener people’s movement”. 

Lindahl was the most prominent figure to realise how damaging for the party it would be to cooperate with the Social Democrats and the Green Party, they argue. 

Swedish vocab: att förutspå – to  predict