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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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

Green manifesto, student housing shortage, and a party donation scandal: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
Green party leaders Märta Stenevi and Per Bolund announce the party manifesto. Photo: Marko Sääväla/TT

Green party calls for 100bn kronor a year ‘green transition’ spending

Sweden’s Green Party has called for the Swedish government to invest 100 billion kronor a year into making Sweden green, as it launches its election manifesto.

“If we don’t make these investments now, we’re going to face much higher costs later on. We need to do a lot in a very short time,” said Märta Stenevi, joint leader of the Green Party. 

“The climate crisis is acute. Sweden needs a rapid and just transition,” her co-leader, Per Bolund, said. “We do not have time to wait any more.” 

He pointed to the heatwaves, fires, and drought seen in much of the rest of Europe. 

Swedish vocab: en omställning – a transition 

Shortage of student housing as new term starts 

Student organisations expect a severe shortage of student housing when the terms starts, due to a post-Covid effect which will see many who studied online last year arriving in the student cities of Lund and Uppsala to seek housing. 

“We foresee a post-covid effect where many students who have previously studied via distance learning are now coming to return to Uppsala,” said Alexander Wilson von Deurs, deputy chair of Uppsala student union. “Many international students are also going to come here again, which we are of course happy about, but it will add to the squeeze.”

Around 50,000 students have been accepted to study in Uppsala this autumn, while there are only 12,000 available student flats. 

Swedish vocab: ökat tryck – increased pressure

Five of Sweden’s political parties discussed evading party financing laws

Five of the eight political parties in the Swedish parliament discussed evading party financing laws with a businessman secretly working with journalists, a new investigation by broadcaster TV4 has found.

The new law on donations to political parties which came into force in 2021 dictates that parties must declare all donations received from private individuals or businesses. Donators can remain anonymous, but only as long as their donation does not exceed 24,150 kronor (€2,281). Larger donations must be declared along with the name of the donor.

The Kalla Fakta team which produced the documentary hired two businessmen to call each parliamentary party and ask how they could donate half a million kronor, while staying anonymous. The conversations were recorded and meetings filmed with a hidden camera.

Three parties – the Centre Party, the Left Party and the Green Party – said that it wasn’t possible for the donor to remain anonymous.

But the other five parties – the Social Democrats, the Moderates, the Sweden Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Liberals – suggested different ways of getting around the requirements.

“There’s every reason to demand moral and political responsibility,” political scientist Jonas Hinnfors said of how Sweden’s society should react to the investigation’s findings. “It’s a threat to democracy.”

Swedish vocab: att kringgå lagen – to evade (go around) the law

Turkey: Sweden’s planned extradition not enough to meet Nato pledge

Turkey’s justice minister Thursday said on Thursday that Sweden’s pledge to extradite a Turkish convict fell far short of Stockholm’s commitments under a deal paving the way for its Nato membership bid.

Nato member Turkey is threatening to freeze Sweden’s attempts to join the Western defence alliance unless it extradites dozens of people Ankara accuses of “terrorism”.

A non-binding deal Sweden and fellow Nato aspirant Finland signed with Turkey in June commits them to “expeditiously and thoroughly” examine Ankara’s requests for suspects linked to a 2016 coup attempt and outlawed Kurdish militants.

The Swedish government said earlier this month that it would extradite Okan Kale — a man convicted of credit card fraud who appeared on a list of people sought by Ankara published by Turkish media.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag told the conservative Milliyet news site that Sweden needed to do far more to win Turkey’s trust.

“If they think that by extraditing ordinary criminals to Turkey they will make us believe that they have fulfilled their promises, they are wrong,” Bozdag said in the first government response to the extradition decision. “Nobody should test Turkey.”

Swedish vocab: en överenskommelse – an agreement 

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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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”) .

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