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WHAT CHANGES IN SWEDEN

KEY POINTS: Everything that changes in Sweden in November 2022

New budget announcement, first Nato talks for Kristersson's government, All Saints Day and autumn holidays. Here's what's happening in Sweden in November.

KEY POINTS: Everything that changes in Sweden in November 2022
Fallen leaves gather under a car as families in Sweden prepare to drive to visit relatives during the autumn school break: Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Sweden’s budget announcement 

Sweden’s new government is due to make its budget announcement on November 8th. 

The new budget will be make it clear for the first time how Sweden’s new government plans to finance its policy for the next year, and which posts it deems most important, allocating the most money to.

Rumours have it that it will not contain some of the most far-reaching reforms of the Tidö Agreement, the deal between the three right-wing parties in government and the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats.

Those reforms are instead planned in time for next year’s budget, reports Swedish finance newspaper Dagens Industri, giving the parties more time to work out the finer details of the proposals that allowed Moderate party leader – and now Prime Minister – Ulf Kristersson to form his government.

We already know a little bit about what will be proposed in this year’s budget (3,000 pages, according to Expressen). As is usually the case, the parties have been releasing information in dribs and drabs to maximise the time that the Swedish media will spend reporting on their budget.

One of the proposals is a dedicated 6.7 billion kronor (approximately $612 million) to tax cuts on fuel, following up on election promises to lower petrol and diesel prices.

First Nato talks for new government 

Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson is set to visit Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on November 8th in Ankara, the AFP newswire has reported, citing a Turkish official. The Swedish government has yet to confirm the information. 

Kristersson and Erdogan spoke on the telephone this week, with Kristersson tweeting that he was “looking forward” to visiting Ankara soon, and that his government was committed to fulfilling the terms of the trilateral memorandum signed between Turkey, Finland and Sweden. 

Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is set to visit Erdogan in Ankara on November 4th. 

If all goes well, it’s not impossible that by the end of the month, Sweden will be a member of Nato. 

Civil Contingencies Agency to report on state of bomb shelters

The Civil Contingencies Agency is due to submit the final report on its inventory of Sweden’s bomb shelters before November 7th. 

Last month, the agency said it had already carried out thousands of spot checks and found that the overwhelming majority of shelters were in a “functional condition”. 

Sweden’s last government ordered the inspection of the 65,000 shelters in May 2021. 

Royal visit to Jordan 

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia will make a state visit to Jordan between November 15th and November 17th on the invitation of His Majesty King Abdullah II.

The visit will mark the inauguration of the Swedish Dialogue Institute for the Middle East and North Africa in Jordan’s capital Amman, as well as the opening of new premises for the Embassy of Sweden.

The visit will focus on cooperation on multilateral and regional issues, environment, climate and sustainable inclusive development, with members of the Swedish Government and representatives of Swedish companies accompanying the royals during their visit. 

All Saints Day on November 5th 

All Saints Day (Allhelgonadagen) falls on November 5th, and the weekend Allhelgonahelgen will be celebrated across Sweden, with crowds of people visiting cemeteries across Sweden to light candles and take in the sights of thousands upon thousands of candles burning in the darkness. 

It can be a beautiful sight. Read about it here

The autumn Höstlov holiday 

The autumn school holiday, Höstlov, starts for schools across Sweden next week, with schools in Stockholm, Malmö and Göteborg all taking the week off between Monday, October 31st and November 4th.

Highlights of the week, include Halloween celebrations, a US tradition which Sweden has wholeheartedly adopted, with kids donning costumes and go trick or treating or simply to partake in activities organised across towns.

If the weather remains pleasant there is chance to explore the great outdoors, and if not, there are events being organised in local libraries and cinema halls for those looking for a cosier atmosphere.

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WHAT CHANGES IN SWEDEN

What changes in Sweden in January 2023?

Sweden's EU presidency, royal jubilee, BankID reforms, and new laws affecting workers, drivers, students and personal finances: here's what changes in Sweden in January.

What changes in Sweden in January 2023?

Sweden’s EU Presidency

Sweden are taking over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from the Czech Republic on January 1st, in a six-month role ending on June 23rd. Sweden’s goals for this role are, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson explained, “keeping the EU together on the issue of Ukraine”, adding that the war in Ukraine “will affect the entire Swedish presidency”.

In January, the entire EU Commission will also visit Sweden, more specifically Jukkasjärvi in Kiruna, northern Sweden, together with the Swedish government and Sweden’s King and Queen.

Swedish King begins 50th Jubilee celebrations

That brings us nicely on to the next event happening in 2023: King Carl XVI Gustaf’s 50th jubilee, which falls on September 15th.

Celebrations will start in January, however, where the King and Queen will hold a “Sverigemiddag” or “Sweden Dinner” in Stockholm on the 27th. All of Sweden’s county leaders will be invited, and they will be allowed to hand pick significant people from their respective counties to “set the tone” (tongivande människor)

Throughout the year, the King and Queen will visit all 21 of Sweden’s counties, where the couple will ride in cortege with a horse-drawn carriage in those counties where this will be possible.

There will also be public events and a photo exhibition which will follow the royals up and down the country, with performances of the new “Carl XVI Gustaf’s Jubilee March”.

BankID reforms

A proposal to create a new state-run alternative to BankID is to be submitted to parliament next year, with a deadline of January 31st, 2023. It’s not clear yet what that proposal will entail, but it’s something to keep an eye on for those in Sweden who don’t qualify for BankID.

New laws coming into place in January

A number of new laws are also coming into place in January, which we’ll outline here.

Older workers

The right to keep working will be extended from 68 years to the day a worker turns 69, and people over the age of 65 will also pay a reduced rate of tax from January.

At the same time, the lowest age for accessing an income-based pension will be raised from 62 to 63 years, with the lowest age for receiving a guarantee pension raised from 65 to 66 years.

Property owners

For those living in a bostadsrätt, a flat or a terraced house in a housing association, new rules will come into place for renovations, which will make it clearer for owners to understand which kind of renovations require permission from the board of the housing association.

Another new law for bostadsrätt owners which is linked to this, is a law allowing bostadsrätt owners who disagree with the board’s decision to appeal to the hyresnämnd, literally ‘rent tribunal’, rather than the current situation which requires an expensive legal process in the general courts.

Illegal renovations without permission from the board could also result in bostadsrätt owners forfeiting the right to live in their property from next year.

For those considering buying a new-build bostadsrätt which has not yet been constructed, the right to better information on the contract and any risks will be strengthened, and a limit will be placed on the predicted time for creation of the legal bostadsrätt, which will be set at three months or less.

Drivers

The old system of reseavdrag, travel deductions for journeys to and from work, will remain, but drivers using this system will receive more money. The deduction for journeys in a private car will increase from 18.5 kronor to 25 kronor per 10km.

Despite the climate bonus for new cars being scrapped, all those who bought or ordered a car before November 8th will be able to receive the bonus. If the car is registered in the road traffic register after January 1st, 2023, the highest possible bonus for pure electric cars will be at most 50,000 kronor, or 10,000 kronor for hybrid cars which release a maximum of 30 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre.

In 2023, drivers without licences on practice drives must carry ID. Drivers who attempt to cheat on tests at the Swedish Transport Administration, who issue drivers licences, could also be banned from tests for one or two years, from January.

Students

People with student loans will have to pay a slight increase on the interest on their loans from 2023, in order to finance the state’s losses on student loans. They will, however, be compensated for this by being offered the possibility to extend the deadline for repayment.

It will also become more expensive to undertake the högskoleprov, the test required for university study in Sweden, with the registration fee going up from 450 to 550 kronor in 2023.

Students taking this test can also expect security checks, such as metal detector checks, when entering rooms where the test will be taken, in order to combat cheating.

For personal finances

A number of changes which will affect household finances in Sweden will also come into effect in 2023.

Alcohol tax will be raised, with a can of strong beer going up by around 50 öre, or half a krona, a bottle of wine going up by 1.30 kronor, and a small bottle of spirits increasing by one krona.

Tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products like snus will also increase, putting the price for these products up by around one krona.

On the other hand, TV and radio licence fees will decrease, as income from these fees has been higher than expected over the past few years. In 2023, it should cost no more than 1,300 kronor per person per year.

Some types of benefit which were temporarily raised during the pandemic and were due to go down to previous levels will remain at the higher level under 2023. This includes unemployment insurance and activity support – a type of benefit for people looking for work who are taking part in a programme run by the Unemployment Agency – as well as temporary benefits for families with small children who receive housing benefits.

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