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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
The Forsmark nuclear power station is on high alert. Photo: Vattenfall

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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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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

Opposition calls for change to electricity compensation, electric cars, and Swedish parliament votes through hiked work permit salary threshold. Here's Sweden's news on Thursday.

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

Social Democrats call for government to change electricity compensation 

Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson has called for the government to change its planned system of compensation for high power prices, after it emerged that wealthy people would receive the full support, but those receiving welfare payments would not. 

“It’s just too stupid, so they just have to put it in order,” Andersson said after the detail came out. “Those who have big villas, jacuzzis or heated garages will receive hundreds of thousands of kronor, while those who are living on the tightest margins — where the fact that Bregott [butter] costs 70 kronor makes a real difference to their daily lives – won’t receive any of this.” 

Swedish vocab: vardagar – every day [lives]

Swedish parliament votes through work permit and ID-number laws

Sweden’s parliament on Wednesday voted through two bills, one which will allow the government to hike the minimum salary for a work permit, and another which may lead to people with coordination numbers being able to get BankID.

The first bill, “A higher subsistence requirement for labour migrants” (Ett höjt försörjningskrav för arbetskraftsinvandrare), was passed with a majority of 244 in favour and 54 against, with only the Centre, Green and Left parties voting against the move to tighten labour migration.

In the debate over the bill, Jonny Cato from the Centre Party dismissed the government’s claim that the bill would be “a big win for Swedish businesses”, saying that businesses were in fact “extremely worried about where they are going to get their competence.”

“If we look at who these labour migrants with a salary under 33,200 are, who will no longer have permission to stay but will be deported – it is one out of seven systems developers, one of out seven engineers, and one out of seven IT architects. This is highly skilled labour,” he said. “How will companies be able to get the expertise they need now and not in five years time?”

The bill empowers the government to raise the maintenance requirement for work permit applicants from outside the EU, the Nordic countries and Switzerland above the current 13,000 kronor a month.

It does not propose how much higher the maintenance requirement should be, or propose a date for when the changes should come into force, stating instead that it can be implemented on “the day the government decides”.

Sweden’s Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard has said she intends to do this as soon as possible.

Swedish vocab: försörjningskrav – support requirement 

Four out of ten new cars sold are electric in Sweden 

Sales of cars in Sweden were up 22 percent year on year in November. 64.8 percent were battery powered, of which 22.3 percent were plug-in hybrid and 42.5 percent fully electric.

The rush to buy electric cars on November 8th, when the government announced it was scrapping the bonus for electric vehicles the next day, will not show up in the statistics until next month. 

Sofia Linder, chief economist for Mobility Sweden, said the rise in sales was a result of supply rising to meet the strong demand for new cars. 

“At the same time the industry’s supply chain is still out of balance, with a bigger demand than supply, which is something that is expected to continue even next year,” she said in a press release. 

Swedish vocab: laddbara bilar – plug-in cars

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