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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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
said.

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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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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

Russian tourist ban, pandemic slashed consumption emissions, and bomb shelters 'functional': find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

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

Majority in Swedish parliament wants to ban Russian tourists

Parties representing a majority of MPs in Sweden’s parliament want to follow Finland’s example and ban Russian tourists, according to commercial broadcaster TV4. 

At midnight on Thursday, Finland closed its borders completely for Russian citizens with tourist visas, and now five out of eight parties in the Swedish parliament want to take the same decision. 

Only the Moderates and the Social Democrats, who together hold 170 of the parliament’s seats are currently opposed to a halt to the issuing of tourist visas to Russian citizens. The Moderates want to wait for a common EU decision, while the Social Democrats want to leave the decision to the incoming government. 

So far this year, Sweden’s Migration Agency has taken in 2,300 applications from Russians seeking visas. 

Swedish vocab: ett totalstopp – an absolute halt 

Swedish per capita consumption-based emissions dropped by a tonne in pandemic

Sweden’s consumption-based emissions fell by 12 percent in 2020, compared to the preceding year, chiefly as a result of people stopping flying abroad for holidays and work, according to new data from Statistics Sweden.

“The biggest reduction happened within household transport, which fell by 23 percent. That can be explained by a reduction in flights and personal transport as a result of the pandemic,” said Nils Brown, an investigator for the agency, in a statement. 

Consumption-based emissions also fell for housing, clothes and shoes, but were unchanged for food and groceries. 

Swedish vocab: växthusgaser – greenhouse gases

Swedish bomb shelters ‘in functional condition’: Civil Contingencies Agency

After carrying out thousands of checks this year, Sweden’s Civil Contingencies Agency has concluded that most of the bomb shelters in Sweden are in a ‘functional condition’, with most having only minor shortcomings which can be easily righted. 

“We have done a few thousand inspections on our own initiative, but we have also seen that property owners have themselves done many inspections of their own bomb shelters, with the help of specialists,” Lars Gråbergs, from the agency, told TT newswire.

The government in May 2021 ordered the agency to assess the capacity and condition of Sweden’s bomb shelters, and how evacuation and housing would be handled in the event of a military attack. The agency is due to report on November 7th.

Swedish vocab: vid väpnat angrepp – in the event of an armed/military attack

Swedish retailer H&M sees profits slump after Russia exit

Swedish fashion retailer H&M reported a sizeable drop in third-quarter profit on Thursday following its decision to leave the Russian market.

The world’s number two clothing group is among a slew of Western companies that have exited Russia following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

H&M paused all sales in the country in March and announced in July that it would wind down operations, although it would reopen stores for “a limited period of time” to offload its remaining inventory.

The company said Thursday its net profit fell to 531 million kronor ($47 million) in the third quarter, down 89 percent from the same period last year. “The third quarter has largely been impacted by our decision to pause sales and then wind down the business in Russia,” chief executive Helena Helmersson said in a statement.

Swedish vocab: en avveckling – a wind down

Sweden detects fourth leak at Nord Stream pipelines in Baltic Sea

A fourth leak has been detected in undersea pipelines running from Russia to Europe, the Swedish Coast Guard said on Thursday, after pipeline explosions were detected earlier this week in the Danish and Swedish economic zones, in suspected sabotage.

“There are two leaks on the Swedish side and two leaks on the Danish side,” a Swedish Coast Guard official said, after three leaks were confirmed earlier this week on the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea.

The official added that the two leaks on the Swedish side are “close to each other”.

The Swedish coast guard could not immediately say why the latest leak only appeared days after the initial breaches.

Media reported that the latest leak was detected at the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, but the coast guard did not confirm this.

Sweden had previously reported a leak on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline northeast of Bornholm, while Denmark has confirmed a leak on Nord Stream 2 to the southeast of the island, and another to the northeast above Nord Stream 1.

Swedish vocab: Kustbevakningen – the Swedish Coast Guard

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