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
A car being charged at a charging point. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/T

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

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

Snow warning, new patient fees confirmed, new international rail service, Sweden moves to criminalise membership of terror groups and majority of Finns want to join Nato without Sweden. Here's Sweden's news on Friday.

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

Yellow warning for snow in southern Sweden

SMHI, the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, has issued a yellow warning for snowfall covering large areas of Västra Götaland, Halland, Blekinge as well as parts of Kronoberg, Kalmar, Skåne and Jönköping counties.

Between 5-10 centimetres of snow is expected to fall throughout the day, with up to 15 centimetres expected in some areas.

SMHI has issued a yellow warning for this area, where between 5-15cm snow is expected to fall throughout Friday. Graphic: Johan Hallnäs/TT

It’s expected to cause issues on the roads, such as slippy conditions and bad visibility, as well as a risk of delays and cancelled departures on public transport, and limited accessibility on some roads.

SMHI also warn that the snow could cause issues with electricity production and telephone networks in the affected area.

Snow is also expected for western Svealand, but not enough to cause issues on the roads.

Swedish vocabulary: gul varning för snöfall – yellow warning for snowfall

New rail service planned through Norway, Sweden and Denmark to Hamburg

Sweden’s state-owned railway SJ, along with Denmark’s DSB and Germany’s DB, plans to offer a new international train line which runs between the Norwegian capital Oslo and Hamburg in northern Germany.

The planned route would run daily, departing from Oslo at 8am before making stops in Gothenburg, Malmö and Copenhagen and arriving in Hamburg at 7pm. A service departing Hamburg and terminating in Gothenburg is also planned.

The 11 hour service would be quicker than the equivalent journey using either a car and ferry connection or existing train services.

The planned service will enter into operation in 2027. Petter Essén, head of SJ’s vehicle and traffic programme, said the route made sense as it would connect a long stretch which doesn’t have continuous train traffic.

Swedish vocabulary: tåglinje – train line

POLL: Majority of Finns want to join Nato before Sweden

A majority of Finns want to go it alone and join Nato without Sweden, if the latter country’s membership is delayed, a poll suggested on Thursday, after Turkey said it could accept Finland without Sweden.

More than half of respondents, 53 percent, replied negatively when asked “whether Finland should wait for Sweden” even “if it takes longer to ratify Sweden’s accession, for example because of opposition from Turkey”.

Only 28 percent believed Finland should wait for Sweden and enter the US-led military alliance together.

The poll by Taloustutkimus, published by Finnish daily Ilta-Sanomat, surveyed 1,021 Finns between January 30th and February 1st.

Swedish vocabulary: gå med i Nato utan Sverige – join Nato without Sweden

Sweden to make it illegal to be active in a terrorist organisation

Sweden’s government has submitted a new terror bill which could help convince Turkey that the country is acting to crack down on Swedish residents active in the Kurdish PKK terror group.

The new proposal, titled “a special penalty provision for participation in a terrorist organisation”, will make participation in the activities of a terrorist organisation in any way that “promotes, strengthens or supports” the organisation punishable with up to four years in prison.

“This is a wider criminalisation that takes aim at a slew of activities within a terrorist organisation that don’t need to be concretely connected to a specific terrorist crime,” Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer told a press conference.

“Sweden has an increased terrorist threat which must be taken very seriously,” he continued. “Now the government is putting forward a legislative proposal which means that both participation in and financing of participation in terrorist organisations will be punishable.”

Actions such as handling equipment, organising camps or locations for meetings, cooking or being in charge of transport for designated terrorist organisations would be criminalised under the new law, which Strömmer stressed was a “considerable widening of the scope compared to current legislation”.

The government hopes to be able to submit the proposal to parliament on March 7th, and for it to come into force by June 1st.

Swedish vocabulary: terrororganisation – terrorist organisation

Swedish regions approve new patient fees

Sweden’s healthcare regions have now approved this year’s patient fees and high cost protection amount, the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKR) wrote in a press release.

The Västernorrland region raised the fee for doctor’s visits in primary healthcare and specialised outpatient care from 300 to 330 kronor, with no other regions choosing to do so.

At the turn of the year, the high cost protection amount available for outpatient care was raised in all but one region by 100 kronor to 1,300 kronor, meaning that a patient will pay a maximum of 1,300 kronor per year out-of-pocket for these services before the state steps in to cover the cost.

In Region Uppsala, however, a patient will pay a maximum of 1,200 kronor for outpatient care.

High cost protection for inpatient care is calculated on a daily basis, with patients now paying 120 kronor per day, an extra 10 kronor than last year. There are two regions with different fees for inpatient care: Region Östergotland, where patients pay 100 kronor, and Region Uppsala, where patients pay 110 kronor.

Swedish vocabulary: öppen vård – outpatient care, sluten vård – inpatient care