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

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TT/AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson holding a press conference in Karlskrona: Photo: Magnus Lejhall/TT

Crunch coalition talks at castle, UK embassy passport crisis, Riksbank chief slams election pledge, and Sweden refuses Russia Nord Stream role: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.


Right-bloc party leaders held weekend talks at castle 

On Monday evening, three of the four party leaders pushing to form Sweden's next government – Ulf Kristersson (Moderates), Ebba Busch (Christian Democrats) and Johan Pehrson (Liberals) - left Tidö Slott, a historic mansion outside the city of Västerås where they had been holding weekend crunch talks over the shape of the next government coalition. 

According to Aftonbladet, Henrik Vinge, group leader of the Sweden Democrats, also left the castle on Monday evening. 

Kristersson is due to hand in a final report to the Speaker Andreas Norlén on Wednesday, on whether he has reached an agreement with the three other party leaders on which parties should form Sweden's next government, and won their backing for a prime ministerial vote in parliament. 

The parliament could then hold a vote on him as prime minister as early as Friday. 

Swedish vocab: en omröstning – a vote 


'Anger and frustration' as Swedes in UK struggle to book passport times 

Swedish citizens living in the UK are finding it near-impossible to book times to renew their passports at the Swedish embassy, causing "anger and frustration", according to one applicant. 

After the UK left the European Union, the 100,000 Swedes living in the country now need to apply for a special residency permit, which requires them to have a valid passport, which has led to a rush of applications. 

At the same time, many did not bother renewing their passports during the pandemic, adding to the surge in applications. 

Since July, the embassy has shifted from issuing fixed appointment slots to a "continuous" booking system, which those applying describe as little better than a lottery. 

The embassy is advising Swedes in the UK to renew their passports on visits back home, but for the many who lack BankID, this is impossible. 

"The demand for passport renewal times is many multiples of the number of times the embassy can offer," Sweden's ambassador to the UK Mikaela Kumlin Granit said. "This will unfortunately continue to be the case for the foreseeable future." 

Swedish vocab: överskådlig tid framöver – the foreseeable future

Moderate party’s mortgage pledge ‘would harm Sweden’: Riksbank chief

The head of Sweden's central bank, the Riksbank, has warned that suspending rules forcing banks to demand mortgage repayments from borrowers -- something pledged by the parties forming Sweden's next government -- would be "damaging for Sweden".

All four of the parties backing Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson as Sweden’s next prime minister said in the run up to September’s election that they would either suspend or reduce the so-called “amortisation requirement”, requiring those borrowing over half the value of their property to pay back at least 1 percent of their loan per year, once in government.

But in an interview with the Aftonbladet newspaper, Stefan Ingves, who steps down as the bank’s governor at the end of this year, said that the measure would be poor economic policy in the current inflationary situation.

“This is an inappropriate measure which would harm Sweden if implemented,” he said. “You’ve got to understand that we have enormous amounts of mortgage debt in the Swedish economy and that the mortgage market represents a risk for the economy.”

“It would send an extremely unfortunate signal to say that as soon as it gets a bit more expensive to borrow, then you should stop amortising [paying off the interest],” he said.

Swedish vocab: en olämplig åtgärd – an inappropriate measure


Sweden refuses Russia role in Nord Stream leaks probe

Sweden on Monday said it would not allow Russia to join an ongoing probe of the Nord Stream gas pipeline leaks but added that Moscow could carry out its own inspections.

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 over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

The pipelines are not currently in operation but they contained gas before falling victim to apparent sabotage. All of the four leaks, which were discovered two weeks ago, are in the Baltic Sea off the Danish island of Bornholm.

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson's statement follows requests from Russia to be included in investigations into the alleged sabotage.

"In Sweden, preliminary investigations are confidential, and this is of course also true in this case," Andersson told a press conference.


Since the leaks occurred in international waters, albeit in the Swedish exclusive economic zone, Russia would be able to approach the site of the leaks, she said

"Now we have lifted the block and then it is also possible for other ships to be in the area, those are the rules," she told reporters.

However, Andersson noted that in addition to the Swedish investigation, there will be a "joint investigation team" under an EU framework.

Andersson said the government was formulating a response to a letter from Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, requesting that Moscow and energy giant Gazprom, which is the majority owner of the pipelines, be included in the investigation.

Swedish vocab: Det råder förundersökningssekretess – preliminary investigations are confidential


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