What changes in Sweden in February 2023?

Becky Waterton
Becky Waterton - [email protected]
What changes in Sweden in February 2023?
Ulf Kristersson and Sanna Marin meet in Finland in October 2022. Marin is due to visit Kristersson in Stockholm this February. Photo: Vesa Moilanen/Lehtikuva via AP/TT

Energy price subsidy payouts, a probable new interest rate hike, new Centre Party leader and Finland's PM Sanna Marin in Stockholm. Here's what changes in Sweden February 2023.


Energy price subsidy paid out

Sweden's long-awaited energy price subsidy, originally promised for November last year, will be paid out to households in the south of Sweden on February 20th.

This is the first of two payouts, based on household energy usage between October 2021 and September 2022.

The payout will go to whoever was listed on the energy contract for the property in question on November 17th, 2022, so if you sold your property before this date and the new owners' name was on the energy contract, they will receive the payout instead of you.

Similarly, if you bought a property before this date and your name was on the energy contract, you will get the full payout for the whole period, even the period when you didn't own the property. You can read more about the energy subsidy in our article below.


End to unregistered pre-paid SIM cards

People in Sweden have not been able to buy unregistered pre-paid SIM cards since August last year, but users have still been able to use any cards bought before this date without registering them.

From February 1st, this will no longer be possible, meaning that any unregistered pre-paid cards still in use will stop working, and users will need to either register their SIM card or buy a new one, providing a name, postal address and personal number or other ID number (for business phones). They will also need to provide proof of ID with a valid document, such as a passport or driving licence.

Here's more information on how the ban could affect foreigners from when it was introduced for new purchases in August last year, as well as how you can register your card if you don't have a personal number.

New interest rate increase likely

Sweden's central bank, the Riksbank, has a financial policy meeting scheduled for February 9th, where it is expected to raise the key interest rate (currently at 2.50 percent) by at least 0.5 percentage points.

These meetings take place roughly two months, with further meetings scheduled for April 26th, June 29th, September 20th and November 22nd this year.

Most analysts expect the bank to increase the policy rate by 0.5 percentage points at this meeting. Handelsbanken's chief economist Christina Nyman told TT newswire that she expects another rate increase in April to 3.25 percent, after which rates will stay at that level for some time.

Nordea's economists have the same prognosis, while experts at Swedbank expect a further increase in June to a peak of 3.5 percent.

Danske Bank predicts that the Riksbank will raise rates in February to 3 percent total, with a possible second hike of 0.25 percentage points predicted for April, depending on inflation in the first quarter of 2023.

In terms of drops in the interest rate, it predicts that rates will remain high throughout 2023, with the Riksbank waiting until 2024 to lower the rate by a total of 1 percentage point.


New Centre Party leader

Muharrem Demirok will almost certainly be voted in as new leader of the Centre Party on February 2nd, taking over the reins from outgoing leader Annie Lööf, who has held the position since 2011.

Demirok is not formally leader yet, but he was announced as the favoured candidate of the party’s election committee in a press conference on January 11th.

In theory party members could vote for someone else at the meeting on February 2nd, but in practice it is always the candidate suggested by the election committee who wins.

Here's more information on Demirok, as well as why the election of a new Centre Party leader is important.

Sanna Marin in Stockholm to discuss Nato

Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin will meet Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in Stockholm on February 2nd to discuss, among other things, the delays in the Nato accession process for the two Nordic neighbours.

The Prime Ministers will also discuss Sweden's EU presidency, and this will be Kristersson's first visit from a foreign head of government since he became prime minister last year. Kristersson previously visited Marin in Helsinki in October 2022.


Valentine’s Day

February 14th is Valentine’s Day, or Alla hjärtans dag (“All hearts’ day”). Valentine’s Day is a relatively recent import to Sweden so it’s not always celebrated among couples, but make sure to check with your partner before you forego a card this year.

If you’re single and looking to find yourself a Swede, look no further – here are some of The Local’s guides from our archives to help you out:

School holiday dates for February

February school holiday dates or sportlov in Sweden vary depending on where in the country you live, but will consist of one week between week 7 and 11 (February 13th-March 12th).

Here are the dates for 2023 in some of Sweden’s major cities:

  • Stockholm: February 27th-March 5th
  • Gothenburg: February 13th-19th
  • Malmö: February 20st-26th


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