Everything that changes in Sweden in 2023

Becky Waterton
Becky Waterton - [email protected]
Everything that changes in Sweden in 2023
The Nato and Swedish flags outside the Swedish Prime Minister's country retreat Harpsund. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

The economy, work permit laws, citizenship application waiting times, electricity payouts, a new budget, EU presidency, BankID, Nato, a royal jubilee and expiring Covid passes. Here's what's changing in Sweden in 2023.


What can we expect to see in Sweden's economy in 2023?

Let's start off with the economy.

Obviously, we can't say for sure what will happen in 2023, but we can take a look at what Sweden's National Institute of Economic Research (KI) has predicted for next year.

These figures are from KI's most recent report from September 2022, but if their prognosis is correct, we can expect a growth of -0.1 percent this year (compared with 2.7 percent in 2022).


We can expect unemployment to rise somewhat, from 7.4 percent in 2022 to 7.7 percent in 2023, and we can expect inflation to average out at 4.6 percent over the course of the year (as opposed to 2022's 7.7 percent). Note that this doesn't mean inflation won't go up, it just means that analysts predict that it will average out at the lower rate over the course of the year.

We can also expect key interest rates, the rates set by Sweden's Riksbank in order to control inflation, to hit 2.84 percent by year-end. This is up from the policy rate of 2.5 percent announced on November 30th. 

On the topic of interest rates, dates to look out for in 2023 are February 9th, April 26th and June 29th, where the Riksbank will announce its financial policy and any decision to lower or raise interest rates. These are the dates which are available at the time of writing, but these financial policy announcements tend to occur every second month, so we can expect further announcements throughout the latter half of 2023.

Electricity subsidy payout

Sweden's electricity subsidy is expected to be paid out to homeowners in February 2023, with no info yet on when it will be paid out to businesses.

You can read this article for more info on the subsidy, who qualifies, and how much you can expect to get.

2023 budget

Sweden's 2023 budget will also come into force in 2023, with a spring amendment budget and an autumn amendment budget expected in April and November, respectively. You can read more on the budget and how it could affect your finances here.

BankID reforms

There are two key dates to look forward to in 2023 on the topic of BankID.

First off, a reform of Sweden's system of coordination numbers will come into effect on September 1st, 2023, meaning that BankID could become available to more people in Sweden than it is currently. More on that here.

Secondly, a proposal to create a new state-run alternative to BankID is to be submitted to parliament this 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.


Labour market testing

The deadline for an ongoing investigation into introducing labour market testing - which would affect labour migrants from non-EU countries - is also coming up in 2023, falling on July 31st.

Here's how that could affect foreigners in Sweden.

There are still a couple of stages in Sweden's legislative process before this would become law (see here for a guide on how laws are made in Sweden), but labour market testing could theoretically be in place by the end of 2023, if each stage moves quickly.


Migration Agency expects to reach goal of a six month turnaround for citizenship applications

The Migration Agency also expects to be able to make decisions on citizenship applications within six months at some point in 2023, which would be a major cut in waiting times, which currently stand at over three years. 

It's not clear how realistic this goal is, or indeed whether it actually will be met, but it is certainly something to keep an eye on if you've just applied for citizenship or will be eligible soon.

New Centre Party leader

The successor of outgoing Centre Party Leader Annie Lööf will also be chosen this year, with the party holding an extra meeting in Helsingborg on February 2nd to choose a new leader. Lööf has been party leader for over a decade, assuming the role in 2011.

The three candidates are Daniel Bäckström, Elisabeth Thand Ringqvist and Muharrem Demirok.


Sweden joins Nato?

It looks likely that Sweden will finally join Nato in 2023, after initiating its application earlier in 2022.

There are a couple of key dates to look out for here. The first is July 11th-12th, where Nato will be holding a summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, and the second is June 18th, 2023, the date of Turkey's next general election.

Turkey's next general election is relevant as it's possible that Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will hold out on approving Sweden's Nato application until after this date, in order to get concessions from Sweden on extradition of PKK members and bolster his ratings at home.

Obviously, after the election, any political point-scoring from withholding Sweden's Nato application will be less relevant, so the hope is that Turkey will be more inclined to approve Sweden's application once the election is over.

Sweden's EU Presidency

Sweden is 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".

One key date to look out for here is the 23rd-24th March, where EU heads of state will meet in Brussels for a summit.

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 celebrates 50th Jubilee

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".

Two important dates for the Jubilee celebrations are June 6th and the weekend of the 13th-16th September.

June 6th is Sweden's National Day, and also the 500-year anniversary of the coronation of Swedish King Gustav Vasa, which will be marked in Strängnäs, the town where Gustav Vasa was coronated.

This will be followed by a National Day speech by King Carl XVI Gustaf and a National Day Dinner, which will be held at the Nordic Museum this year, due in part to the fact that there is a statue of Gustav Vasa outside the museum, and in part the fact that the Nordic Museum will also be celebrating its 150 year anniversary this year.

On September 15th, there will be a day of festivities to mark the 50th anniversary of Carl XVI Gustaf ascending to the throne and a Jubilee dinner with international heads of state and royals.

On the 16th, a Jubilee Cortege will be held in Stockholm, followed by a Jubilee Concert, which will be open to the public and may also be broadcast live on TV and radio.

King Carl XVI Gustaf will also be visiting London on May 6th for the coronation of the UK's King Charles III.

EU travel dates to watch out for

Finally, there are two bits of EU travel news to keep in mind for 2023. Firstly,  border controls will be implemented in May 2023 in the EEA countries (EU plus Norway and Iceland), which could cause issues for non-EU citizens visiting these countries (see more on that here), and secondly, Covid travel certificates are due to expire on June 30th, unless they're extended. More on Covid travel certificates here.

So, there's clearly lots to keep an eye on in 2023! We'll be following these issues and more over the coming year, and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about any of the above issues.


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