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WHAT CHANGES IN SWEDEN

KEY POINTS: Everything that changes in Sweden in October 2022

A new government, new employment rules, new vaccine and a visit from the Dutch royals. Here's what's changing in Sweden in October.

KEY POINTS: Everything that changes in Sweden in October 2022
Dutch King William Alexander and Queen Maxima their glasses during a dinner with 150 Dutchmen of fifty-years-old who were invited on the occasion to mark the 50th birthday of the king on April 28, 2017 at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam. (Photo by Remko de Waal / ANP / AFP) / Netherlands OUT

Sweden gets a new government 

Judging by the optimistic statements made by Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson, it looks like an agreement could be reached over Sweden’s next government sooner rather than later, with Kristersson installed as Prime Minister well before Halloween at the end of this month. 

The Sweden Democrats are getting eight of the sixteen chairmanships and deputy chairmanships of parliamentary committees the right-bloc is entitled to, which suggests that far-right party will be a powerful support party rather than part of the ruling coalition. Whether the Liberal Party will be included in the government, with party leader Johan Pehrson as education minister, remains to be seen.

The new government will have to get straight to work on the budget for 2023. Outside of an election year, a Swedish government would submit its budget to the parliament by the end of September. It will also have to quickly get to work on convincing Turkey and its parliament to ratify Swedish Nato membership.  

In the election campaign, the Moderate Party also promised to have a system of “high-cost protection” for electricity consumers in place by November 1st. If it is to have a chance of meeting this pledge, it will have to move rapidly.

Swedish delegation goes to Turkey for Nato meeting 

On October 5th a delegation from Sweden’s Justice Department is travelling to Turkey for a meeting Turkey’s Anadolu news agency is calling a meeting on “the extradition of criminal terrorists”. 

Sweden’s outgoing foreign minister Ann Linde said on September 27th that the talks with Turkey were “moving along nicely”. 

“My judgement is that Turkey will say ‘yes’ to Swedish Nato membership, however I don’t know when that is going to be.”

Changes to Sweden’s first-in, last-out employment rules come into force

The reform to Sweden’s Employment Protection Law, lagen om anställningsskydd or LAS, comes into force on October 1st. The reform was one of the key policies the Centre Party drove through as part of the price for supporting the outgoing Social Democrat-led government. 

Under the reform, employers who need to slim down their workforce during a business downturn gain the right to lay off three employees outside of the old first-in, last-out employment rules. These require employers to lay off those employed more recently before those who have worked for the employer for a long time. 

In exchange for the looser rules, a new system will also come into force giving employees the right to education to improve their skills so they can find a new job, perhaps in a different industry. The new system is expected to cost the government between six and nine billion kronor a year. 

Employees will be able to apply for support for studies to learn new skills from October 1st for courses starting from January 2023. 

Sweden to start using the new BA.4 and BA.5 Comirnaty vaccine 

Sweden’s Public Health Agency expects to take delivery of the new Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine adapted to target the new BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of the Covid-19 virus. The vaccine will be distributed to Sweden’s regional health authorities to be given out as part of the höstdosen, or autumn dose, which is offered for all citizens over the age of 18 (but only actively recommended to those in a risk group or over the age of 65). 

State visit by Dutch King and Queen 

The Netherlands’ King William-Alexander and Queen Maxima are visiting Sweden on a state visit from October 11th to October 13th. The state visit is, according to a press release from Sweden’s Royal Court intended to “strengthen the long-running and excellent connections between Sweden and The Netherlands which go back to the 1600s”. 

Reforms to which agency is responsible for Sweden in a crisis

From October 1st, Sweden is reforming its crisis preparedness system, with 60 agencies now classified as “crisis preparedness agencies”.

All of these agencies are required to work together with the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) and the Swedish Armed Forces to prepare for crisis situations or war, and to coordinate if a crisis or war actually happens. 

Sweden’s 21 regional governments will also be grouped into six new “civil areas” or civilområde, with the governments of Norrbotten, Örebro, Stockholm, Östergötland, Västra Götaland, and Skåne each taking charge of their surrounding area in the event of a war. 

Prisoners on early release can be returned to jail more rapidly if they do not behave

From October 1st, the Swedish Prison and Probation Service will gain greater powers to put prisoners on early release back behind bars without having to first have the decision approved by a judge at the supervisory board or Övervakningsnämnden. Currently, a decision by a judge is required before the service can dispatch police to apprehend a prisoner. 

The prison service has complained that the delay can cause problems when prisoners, for example, visit or stalk the victim of their crime, particularly in domestic violence cases. 

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For members

WHAT CHANGES IN SWEDEN

EXPLAINED: What changes in Sweden in December 2022?

Sweden's budget goes to vote in parliament, electricity bill subsidy payment, planning for Sweden’s EU Council Presidency, Nobel Prize Day, Saint Lucia's Day, and the oncoming of Christmas. Here's what's coming in Sweden this December.

EXPLAINED: What changes in Sweden in December 2022?

Parliament to vote on budget

On the 13th of December, Sweden’s parliament is due to vote on the government’s budget for 2023.

For the former Social Democrat government, every budget involved juggling the competing demands of the economically liberal Centre and Liberal Parties and the former communist Left Party. Twice the party had to rule on the budget drawn up by the right-wing opposition. 

But Sweden’s new government has a three-seat majority backed by parties, who, for now at least, are in agreement, so the budget should pass without too much difficulty. 

Having said that, this is an economically conservative budget that has managed to disappoint almost everyone but the inflation hawks in Sweden’s central bank. 

READ ALSO: 

Preparations for Swedish Presidency of the European Union

Sweden’s Presidency of the Council of the EU formally begins on January 1st, so December will see heightened press coverage of what Sweden’s government hopes to achieve and what demands will be put upon it. 

A big priority will be successfully concluding negotiations for the “Fit for 55” package, which aims to push EU member states to all play their part in the EU reaching its goal of reducing emissions by 55 percent by 2030. 

Lars Danielsson, the ambassador leading Sweden’s permanent representation to the EU, wrote in a press release in November that as well as climate, Sweden’s other priorities are energy, migration and security. 

Here are the country’s political priorities for the presidency (in no particular order). 

  • Providing security for EU citizens and strengthening the EU’s role in the world
  • Stopping organised crime
  • Speeding up the climate transition
  • Strengthening the EU’s competitiveness for the jobs of the future
  • Safeguarding the EU’s fundamental values

Nobel prizes 

The award-giving ceremony for Sweden’s six Nobel prizes, and the following celebratory banquet, takes place on December 10th. This is the first time the glitzy event in Stockholm City Hall has been held since the Covid-19 pandemic, so it’s likely to get significant coverage in the Swedish press.

The French writer Annie Ernaux, who has won the Nobel Prize in Literature, will hold a press conference in Stockholm on December 6th and then give a lecture on December 7th. 

Sweden’s version of the Oscars

The nominations for the Guldbagge awards, Sweden’s version of the Oscar film awards, are announced on December 15th, although to find out the winner you will have to wait for the award ceremony on January 23rd. 

Will Sweden end its obligatory ID controls on ferries? 

On December 31st, the obligatory controls on ferries Sweden brought in to keep tabs on the level of migration from Ukraine is due to expire, but Sweden’s government on November 22nd published a bill which would extend it to June 2023. 

St Lucy’s Day/St Lucia 

The festival of St Lucia, which marks the start of Sweden’s long Christmas period, is on December 13th. Those with children will not be able to miss their kindergarten, school, or choir Lucia concerts. Others can enjoy one of the many concerts and Lucia processions put on at churches and in parks around the country. 

Christmas holidays 

Sweden’s schools generally break up only a few days before Christmas Eve, with schools in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö all breaking up on December 22nd, giving families just enough time to travel to see grandparents, cousins and the like before the big celebrations, which are held on December 24th in Sweden. 

Polar night descends on far north of Sweden

Just before lunch on November 30th, the sun sets on Treriksröset, with it not coming up above the horizon again until January 12th. The polar night will extend south throughout early December, reaching Kiruna on December 11th.

The boundary for polar night is just above the northern Arctic Circle at 67 degrees north.

Days begin to get longer again

An especially important date for those living in the Arctic Circle is the 21st of December, the shortest day of the year.

After this date, days begin to lengthen, with more sunlight per day (for those areas of the country with sunlight at this time of year.

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