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Sweden’s new government announces 55bn kronor power price subsidy

Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and Energy and Business Minister Ebba Busch have announced their long awaited plan for so-called "high-cost protection" for those hit by high power prices.

Sweden's new government announces 55bn kronor power price subsidy
From left: Energy and Business Minister Ebba Busch, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and the general director of the Swedish National Grid, Lotta Medelius-Bredhe at a press conference on the new energy subsidy. Photo: Tim Aro/TT

The compensation for high power bills will be paid out only in energy price zones 3 and 4 in southern Sweden, they said in a press conference in Thursday, a limit that was not part of the programme outlined by the parties during the election campaign. 

“We welcome the announcement from Svenska kraftnät today as a response to the assignment they were given in the middle of August,” Energy Minister Ebba Busch said. 

“This is an energy subsidy which can help lessen the burden for all energy users – households and companies, but also organisations – which does not stimulate increased usage, as that would risk pushing up prices further.”

Busch emphasised the fact that the subsidy is also clearly aimed at those who are most affected, especially those living in southern Sweden.

At the press conference Lotta Medelius-Bredhe, General Director of Svenska kraftnät (the Swedish National Grid) said that the plan would return 55 billion kronor to five million energy customers in this area.

According to Medelius-Bredhe, the subsidy could be as much as 16,000 kronor for a house using 20,000 kWh a year.

Nine days before the election, Kristersson promised, along with Christian Democrat leader Ebba Busch, Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson and Liberal leader Johan Pehrson, that a subsidy would be in place by November 1st.

Since the election, the parties have been less clear on whether this deadline would be met.

The current plan announced by Svenska kraftnät today, was the result of an order to the authority issued by the former Social Democrat government back in August back. 

In August, the Social Democrats promised that 60 billion kronor in so-called bottleneck fees from Svenska kraftnät would be transferred back to households and companies, a figure which the former government later increased to 90 billion.

At a press conference after the announcement, Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson attacked the government parties for making promises on high cost protection and tax cuts on fuel during the election campaign which they could not keep. 

“It’s quite spectacular the way they are so flagrantly breaking their own very clear promises,” she said. “You should not promise things you can’t deliver, otherwise you undermine trust in politics as a whole.” 

Finance spokesman Mikael Damberg noted that the cuts in fuel tax would reduce the price at the pump by about one krona a litre. 

“I think that a lot of people people are surprised and feel like they’ve been conned,” finance spokesman Mikael Damberg said about the fuel price tax cuts announced earlier. “There was a lot of loft rhetoric in the election campaign when the Sweden Democrats promised that diesel prices at the pump. That’s clearly a very different proposal from the one they are making now. 

The next step in the process will be an individual assessment by the Energy Markets Inspectorate (Ei), Busch said. 

“Now we have a clear ‘what’,” she said. “The government is now dealing with ‘how’ and ‘when’ [the subsidy will be paid out], following the Energi Market Inspectorate’s assessment.”

Member comments

  1. So in essence we’re giving a subsidy to families with high consumption i.e. very large houses which likely already have the means to pay for this, while leaving low incomes with nothing. The fair thing to do would be to lower the cost across the board for everyone, the same could be done for Gasoline and Diesel with a simple tax cut in percentage.

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IMMIGRATION

Sweden plans international campaign to promote migration ‘paradigm shift’

In a joint press conference, Moderate Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard and Sweden Democrat parliamentary group leader Henrik Vinge announced the campaign, which they hope will discourage refugees from coming to Sweden.

Sweden plans international campaign to promote migration 'paradigm shift'

The “international information campaign” will promote the “paradigm shift” currently taking place in Swedish migration policy, and will be aimed at foreign authorities and other authorities working internationally, Malmer Stenergard said.

“In the long run, the goal is that fewer people will come here,” she said.

The campaign will also target foreign media and foreign embassies in Sweden.

“Currently, two thirds of those coming to Europe do not have a valid reason for protection,” Malmer Stenergard said. “Many of them will be forced to return, and even more so under this government and collaborating party [the Sweden Democrats].”

Sweden’s current government consists of the Moderates, Christian Democrats and the Liberals, with the support of the Sweden Democrats, who are not in government. Its policy document, the Tidö Agreement, is co-authored by all four parties and covers seven different policy areas, of which migration and integration is the largest.

“Many migrants place their lives in the hands of refugee smugglers, and will still have to return later. If they receive information on which rules apply here, we’ll reduce the risk of suffering for these people and can focus on those who actually need protection to a greater extent,” said Malmer Stenergard.

The message of the campaign will focus on informing people in other countries of planned changes to Sweden’s migration policy, which will include tighter rules for family reunification, stricter maintenance requirements and stricter rules for citizenship, she explained.

The number of refugees arriving in Sweden increased in 2022 to 17,000, compared to 11,000 the year before, but down from around 21,000 in 2019.

“In particular, I think this measure is important in the short-term to lower the pressure of asylum seekers on Sweden,” Henrik Vinge, the Sweden Democrat parliamentary group leader, said.

The plan so far is not to take out advertisements in foreign newspapers, for example, with the government instead hoping that information will spread by word of mouth.

“You can’t underestimate how quickly information can spread by word of mouth,” Malmer Stenergard said. “That’s why we need to work broadly, both through authorities but also through the media. After that, we believe it will spread naturally.”

Many of the proposed measures in the migration and integration section of the Tidö coalition agreement specifically target asylum seekers, including the goal of lowering the number of asylum seekers accepted per year to the lowest possible level under EU law, making it possible to withdraw residence permits for asylum seekers who are no longer in need of protection, abolishing permanent residence permits for asylum seekers, and “return migration” programmes to encourage asylum seekers to return to their countries of origin.

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