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

Permanent residency to remain for work permit migrants, a-Kassa delays, snow, and PKK suspect extradited to Turkey: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
Snow will be back across much of Sweden this week. Photo: Janerik Henriksson / TT

‘End to permanent residency will not affect labour migrants’: Migration Minister 

Sweden’s Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard has told Swedish state broadcaster SR that the government’s proposed abolition of permanent residency will only affect asylum-related migration cases and not people in Sweden on work permits, or those who have come to study for PhDs. 

“The government’s idea is that permanent residency will be phased out for those who are related to asylum immigration. That means asylum seekers and their relatives, for instance, but not for workforce migration,” she told SR’s English language wing Radio Sweden

She said the coming inquiry into how to convert existing permanent residencies into citizenships would also only focus on asylum-related migration cases, and not on those here on work permits. 

“But I think if you come here and you intend to stay, then there should be an ambition to learn Swedish language, have knowledge about the society, be able to support yourself, and, after maybe eight to 10 years, become a citizen and become a full part of the Swedish society. And that is an important signal to send.” 

Malmer Stenergard said that she wanted to make handling times shorter for those with work permits. 

“We want to focus on the highly skilled workforce coming to Sweden, and improve the rules to make handling times shorter,” she said. “We know that is a great problem for those who apply for work permits and also for those who apply for a prolongation of work permits. We are set on improving the rules so that it will be more attractive to come to Sweden.” 

Swedish vocab: arbetstillstånd – work permit 

Unemployment payments to be delayed after cyber attack 

Unemployment payments under Sweden’s a-kassa insurance system will be delayed this Thursday, due to the suspected cyber attack last week which saw the entire system taken off line. 

This means that payments which were supposed to go out to unemployed people on Thursday are going to be delayed for a few days, but will be paid “as soon as possible”. 

Swedish vocab: snarast möjligt – as soon as possible

Snow and sub-zero temperatures this week in almost all of Sweden

Snow is expected to fall and temperatures to drop below zero in almost every part of Sweden next week, Sweden’s state weather forecaster said in an update over the weekend. 

“We can expect sub-zero temperatures across most of the country,” Therese Fougman at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) said. “It will probably be a few centimetres (of snow). It probably won’t snow everywhere, but large parts of Norrland look set to get some of it, as well as Svealand and Götaland. It may actually snow all the way down towards Skåne and southern Halland.” 

After a period of milder weather, a white winter seems to be on its way. According to the SMHI, residents in most parts of the country can expect both snowfall and freezing temperatures during the next week.

Generally speaking, snowfall is expected during the middle of the week.

Swedish vocab: kylan – chilly weather 

Sweden extradites suspected PKK terror group member to Turkey

Sweden has extradited a convicted member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to Turkey as Ankara presses Stockholm for further steps in return for its membership in NATO, state media reported on Saturday.

Mahmut Tat, who was sentenced to six years and 10 months in jail for PKK membership in Turkey, fled to Sweden in 2015 but his asylum request was rejected.

Tat arrived in Istanbul on Friday night having been detained by Swedish police, the Anadolu news agency reported.

He was taken by Turkish police soon after arriving at Istanbul airport and referred to court on Saturday, the private NTV broadcaster reported.

Turkey has accused Finland and Sweden in particular of providing a safe haven for outlawed Kurdish groups it deems “terrorists”, and held back on ratifying their NATO bids despite an agreement in Madrid in June.

Swedish vocab: utvisades – extradited

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

House prices up, FM comments Nato process, young Swedes have grim outlook for future and what does a drop in coffee prices mean for inflation? Here's Sweden's news on Thursday.

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

House prices up in January

House prices increased by 1.8 percent across Sweden last month, according to new statistics from SBAB bank and Booli property site.

However, this doesn’t mean that the property crisis is over, Robert Boije, senior economist at SBAB, warned.

“We think property prices could fall as we enter spring,” he said.

In the first month of the year, apartment prices rose by 2.4 percent on average, and house prices rose 1.4 percent, SBAB and Booli’s figures show.

Boije said, however, that it’s too early to say whether this is a trend, as the property market usually sees a boost in January anyway.

“In January we have a lot of viewings after the market has usually been dead in December. So, prices rose in January, but when seasonal effects are removed, they actually dropped.”

“Therefore, it’s too early to say that this is a turning point in the market, but if prices had kept dropping in January it would have been even gloomier. This shows that the market isn’t completely dead,” he told TT newswire.

Over the last 12 months, house prices have dropped by 15 percent and apartment prices by 9 percent, according to Booli and SBAB.

Swedish vocabulary: säsongseffekten – seasonal effects

Swedish FM: ‘Religion is not part of Nato deal’

Sweden will not compromise on the right to free speech and the rule of law, Sweden’s Foreign Minister Tobias Billström has said.

He made the comments in response to threats by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to refuse Sweden Nato membership due to a Koran-burning protest outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm last month.

“Religion is not part of the deal,” Billström said.

Erdoğan has stated that as long as Sweden allows Korans to be burnt and destroyed, Turkey will refuse to approve the Nordic country’s Nato application.

Billström told TT newswire that Sweden has delivered results in all parts of the agreement between Sweden, Turkey and Finland on entering Nato.

“We’re still implementing it. Religion is not part of the deal, but having said that, I understand that those on the Turkish side are upset about what was certainly legal, but not respectful.”

Swedish vocabulary: överenskommelsen – agreement/deal

Majority of young Swedes think society is heading in wrong direction

In a new study of young Swedes by analysts Ungdomsbarometern, based on a survey of over 16,000 young people aged 15-24, a majority of respondents said for the first time that society is heading in the wrong direction.

55 percent of respondents said that society is either completely or partly heading in the wrong direction, 45 percent said that the future on a societal level will be “negative” or “very negative”, but 76 percent said that they felt their own future will be “positive” or “very positive”.

In addition to this, more than half think their generation, referred to as Generation Z, will be worse off than previous generations.

“We can see an increasing, negative view of society,” said Ulrik Hoffman, CEO of Ungdomsbarometern. “We’ve seen things moving in this direction for some years, but it’s increasing in strength.”

The respondents were also concerned about crime, the economy and the climate.

Swedish vocabulary: mörk samhällssyn – a negative view of society

Coffee prices drop – but inflation not over yet

According to independent comparison site Matpriskollen, coffee prices are down at all the major supermarkets in Sweden. This applies to the majority of major brands in Sweden, which have seen a drop of around 10 kronor per kilo.

“The standard prices have dropped, and we can expect that discounts will also follow now,” said Ulf Mazur, CEO and founder of Matpriskollen.

He added that discounts on coffee have been few and far between in recent months as prices have continued to rise, but predicted “offers of three or four packs for a lower price at Easter”.

He also explained that coffee prices are only adjusted five times a year, so this drop in prices should last for a few months at least.

“Coffee varies so much on the global market, so producers have agreed to only adjust the price five times a year.”

In addition to this, coffee harvests in Brazil have been better than expected, and demand for coffee has dropped, he explained.

The drop in demand has led to supplies increasing, leading to a drop in prices for consumers.

Unfortunately, Mazur does not believe we’ll see a similar drop in prices for other food and drink items. He’s still working on the price comparison for January, but it looks like inflation’s not over yet on other goods.

“Coffee lives its own life,” he said.

Swedish vocabulary: prissänkning – drop in prices