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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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

Plan to slash peak power demand, Löfven to lead EU socialists, and right-wing bloc agreed on stricter migration: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Former prime minister Stefan Löfven in conversation with Magdalena Andersson at the Almedalen political festival in July. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden’s parties united on plan to slash peak power consumption by 5-10 percent

Sweden’s Social Democrat caretaker government has agreed with the incoming Moderate-led government that the country should take action to cut power consumption at peak times by between 5-10 percent, something outgoing energy minister Khashayar Farmanbar says could “at least halve power prices” if successfully done across the European Union. 

“We stand behind the ambition to reduce consumption,” said Carl-Oskar Bohlin, the Moderate Party’s power spokesperson, after a meeting on Wednesday of the parliament’s Committee on Industry and Trade. “Then there are questions of how that should happen practically in real terms. In Sweden, electricity use is largely dependent on the outside temperature. If we have a mild winter, it will be extremely easy to hit the 5 percent target, if we have a really harsh winter, it might be impossible.”

Swedish vocab: en sträng vinter – a harsh winter

Former PM Stefan Löfven in line to lead Social Democrats in the EU

Sweden’s former prime minister is in line to lead the Party of European Socialists, the umbrella party for Social Democrats in the European Union, after the party’s current chair, Sergej Stanisjev, from Bulgaria, stood down.

“Stefan was the force behind the Gothenburg Social Summit which proclaimed the European Pillar of Social Rights: the landmark step forward for a Social Europe,” Stanisjev said in a press message. “I know he will bring this same leadership and vision to the historic challenges Europe faces today.”

Löfven is the sole candidate for the post, and will likely be voted in at the party’s congress in Berlin on October 14th and 15th. 

Swedish vocab: den europeiska pelaren – the European Pillar

Sweden’s right-wing bloc ‘agreed on stricter migration policy’: report

The four parties backing Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson to become Sweden’s next Prime Minister have already agreed on stricter migration and crime policies, a source has told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

According to the source, who the paper said “had insight into the negotiations to form a new government”, the four parties have also reached agreement on who should be voted in as Speaker of the country’s Riksdag parliament when the role goes up for a vote on Monday.

“We are counting on all parties sticking to [the agreed] line,” the source told the newspaper. “Everything is being negotiated as one comprehensive solution, as a packet, and the role of Speaker is part of that whole.”

“We have agreed that we should have a stricter migration policy, and we have also agreed on having longer prison sentences for criminals,” the source added.

The talks between Kristersson’s Moderate Party, the Sweden Democrats, the Christian Democrats, and the Liberal Party have been continuing for ten days, with most of the negotiations taking place at the Moderate Party’s premises, and precautions taken so that as little as possible leaks from the discussions.

Swedish Vocab: regeringsförhandlingarna – the government negotiations 

Sweden’s union federation warns of increased layoffs after rate hike

The Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO) has warned that the Riksbank’s decision to hike its key interest rate on Tuesday risks increasing the number of people being laid off by companies.

Laura Hartman, the chief economist at LO, said that the union was already seeing the number of people being laid off by their employers increase as Sweden’s economy started to enter a slow-down.

“Unfortunately, it’s looking pretty grim and it’s not been made any better by the interest rate decision,” she said. “We are on the way into an economic slowdown, and the Swedish Public Employment Service has also said that we are on the way into a period of higher unemployment.”

She said that the unions that are part of her confederation had already started reporting members losing their jobs.

“We are seeing that redundancies are beginning to climb upwards. That’s the signal we’re getting from our unions. This is to do with the downturn in the business cycle, which is getting worse. We don’t have any numbers for it, but our latest forecast for June had growth of 1-2 percent.”

Swedish vocab: varslen – redundancies

Sweden’s new immigrant party gets first elected positions

Sweden’s new immigrant party, Nyans, has won council seats in the port city of Landskrona and the Stockholm suburb of Botkyrka, the first elected positions it has won since it was founded in 2019.

Ever since the September 11th election, it has been touch and go whether the party would make it over the two percent threshold to enter the council in the Landskrona, but after the vote count was finally complete on Wednesday morning, the party had gained its first council seat.

The party also won 2.03 percent of the votes in Botkyrka, a tiny margin over the 2 percent threshold. The party’s leader Mikail Yüksel has retroactively registered himself as living in the municipality so that he can claim the seat. 

“It feels super exciting to get the chance to affect and experience how political work takes place on the city council,” the party’s lead candidate in Landskrona, Sead Busuladzic, told Sweden’s public broadcaster SVT.

“You don’t get that much influence with only one mandate, but we want to raise the importance of issues around integration and segregation, and around creating more meeting places where people’s prejudices can be challenged. Too many people live in their own bubbles and don’t meet one another.”

Landskrona was also the city where the far-right Sweden Democrats first broke through in a big way, back in 2006, winning 22 percent of the votes in the municipal election and gaining eight seats on the local council.

Although Nyans (which translates as “nuance” in English) is open to people of all faiths and backgrounds on paper, it particularly seeks to appeal to and represent Muslim immigrants and has called for Muslims to be declared an official minority in the country.

Swedish vocab: den slutliga rösträkningen – the final vote count

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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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