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

Right-wing to shelve high-speed rail, record Swedish power exports, Nord Stream still leaking, and Swedish geneticist wins Nobel: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
Karolinska Institut professors Gunilla Karlsson Hedestam, professor, Nils-Göran Larsson, and Anna Wedell announce the winner of the 2022 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physics. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Four right-wing parties agreed on shelving high-speed rail plans

The four parties negotiating to form Sweden’s next right-wing government have agreed to abandon plans to build a high-speed rail link, Sweden’s state broadcaster SR has reported, citing a motion the parties have submitted to the outgoing Social Democrats inquiry on a “National Plan for Transport Infrastructure 2022-2033”. 

The parties argue that investment in high-speed rail “risks edging out other necessary investments” in infrastructure. 

Swedish vocab: höghastighetståg – high-speed rail 

Sweden’s net electricity exports hit record 7.3 billion kronor in August 

Sweden’s net exports of electricity hit a record level of 7.3 billion kronor (€670m) in August as power generators in the country took advantage of sky-high prices on the European market. 

Sweden exported 8.1 billion kronor of power, and imported only 0.8 billion kronor’s worth, adding to the 26.1 billion in net revenues earned by Swedish power producers in the first eight months of the year, more than three times what they earned from exports in the same period in 2021. 

“Of course, there are some companies making higher profits, but you can’t say that the energy industry, in general, is making higher profits,” said Åsa Pettersson, chief executive of Swedenergy.

Swedish vocab: en ny toppnotering – a new record 

Gas still leaking from Nord Stream 2: Swedish Coastguard

Sweden’s coastguard said on Monday it could no longer see any leaks from the Nord Stream 1 pipeline in the Baltic Sea, but a smaller leak from Nord Stream 2 was still visible.

“The larger leak is now no longer visible on the surface while the smaller one instead has increased slightly,” the coastguard said in a statement.

The observations were made during an overflight on Monday at around 8am of the two pipelines suspected to have been damaged in an act of sabotage, it added.

“At that time, the smaller leak was approximately 30m in diameter,” the coast guard said.

A spokesman for the operator of the Nord Stream pipelines, Nord Stream AG, said on Saturday that the leaking from the Nord Stream 2 pipeline had stopped because an equilibrium had been reached between the gas and water pressure.

The Russian gas producer Gazprom, which owns 51 percent of the pipeline, said later on Monday that it was pumping gas out of the destroyed pipelines to reduce the pressure so that it could inspect them. 

Swedish vocab: förstörda  – destroyed 

Swedish geneticist wins Nobel Prize for Neanderthal gene research

The Swedish geneticist Svante Pääbo has won the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his work sequencing the genome of Neanderthal man.

The Nobel Assembly at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet medical university announced on Monday that it was awarding the prize to Pääbo for his “discoveries concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution”.

“Through his pioneering research, Svante Pääbo accomplished something seemingly impossible: sequencing the genome of the Neanderthal, an extinct relative of present-day humans,” the Assembly, which awards the Nobel Prize wrote in a press release. “He also made the sensational discovery of a previously unknown hominin, Denisova.”

“I was extremely surprised,” Pääbo said at a press conference on Monday afternoon. “I thought it was a joke by my colleagues. But then it sounded a little bit too serious and it started to sink in.” 

Swedish vocab: överaskad – surprised 

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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