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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.

SAS aircraft grounded in Stockholm in April 2020
SAS aircraft grounded in Stockholm in April 2020. Photo: JONATHAN NACKSTRAND / AFP

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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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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