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

SD Islam critic gets chairmanship, Nord Steam leak stops, Erdogan threats, and a rainy September: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
Rain in the garden of a detached house in Stockholm at the end of August. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Sweden Democrat Islam critic to chair parliament’s justice committee

Richard Jomshof, a Sweden Democrat politician known for his statements critical of Islam, has been chosen by the party to chair the Swedish Parliament’s Committee on Justice, giving him influence over the procedure through which new laws on crime and punishment are decided in the parliament. 

“This is important for us. This is a milestone in the party’s history,” Jomshof, one of the original ‘gang of four’ who modernised the party, told Swedish state broadcaster SR. “My hope is that we will quite quickly get a good cooperation going which will show voters that we are ready to make fundamental changes.” 

Aron Emilsson will become chair of the Committee on Foreign Policy, while Tobias Andersson will become Chair of the Committee on Industry and Trade. 

Jomshof is most controversial due to his assertion that Islam is “a despicable ideology and religion”. 

As soon as he was appointed, he reasserted his position, writing in a tweet, “Islam is worse than Christendom, on all levels”. 

Swedish vocab: på samtliga plan – on all levels 

Nord Stream 2 pipeline has stopped leaking gas under Baltic Sea: spokesman

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is no longer leaking under the Baltic Sea because an equilibrium has been reached between the gas and water pressure, a spokesman told AFP.

“The water pressure has more or less closed the pipeline so that the gas which is inside can’t go out,” Nord Stream 2 spokesman Ulrich Lissek said.

“The conclusion is that there is still gas in the pipeline,” he added.

Asked how much gas was believed to be in the pipeline, Lissek said: “That is the one-million-dollar question.”

The Danish Energy Agency also said that the latest statement indicated that “the blow-out of gas from the last two leaks has now been completed”.

Information on the status of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline leak, which was significantly larger, was not immediately available.

The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which connect Russia to Germany, have been at the centre of geopolitical tensions as Russia cut gas supplies to Europe in suspected retaliation against Western sanctions following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Swedish vocab: en utblåsning – a blow-out 

Turkish president repeats Nato threat 

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is continuing to threaten to block Nato membership for Sweden and Finland. 

“Until the promises given to our country are met, we will stick to our principled position,” he said in a speech to parliament. “We will keep a careful watch on whether Sweden and Finland stick to their promises or not.” 

It is Turkey’s parliament, he said, which would decide on the issue. 

On Friday, Sweden’s National Inspectorate of Strategic Products, which decides on which countries Sweden can sell arms to, withdrew its ban on weapons sales to Turkey. 

Swedish vocab: principfasta – principled 

Swedish towns see rainest days since records began 

The towns of Öningaryd in southern Småland and Eringsboda in Blekinge this month recorded their rainiest 24-hour periods since records began, being soaked by 96.7mm and 77.9mm respectively. 

The rainiest place this month was Härnösand on Sweden’s northeast coast, which recorded its tenth most rainy month since records began in the 1800s. 

Most of central Sweden was dryer than usual, particularly the north of Götaland and and parts of Svealand.

Swedish vocab: nederbörd – downpours

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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