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

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TT/AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
Swedish foreign minister Tobias Billström. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Foreign minister plans Nato tour, new acting director for Migration Agency, 'no way' to Abba anniversary reunion, and worst construction crisis since 1990s. Here's some of Sweden's news on Friday.


Swedish foreign minister wants to 'increase pressure' for Nato membership

Sweden's foreign minister Tobias Billström is planning to fly to Germany, France, Canada, Romania, Poland and The Netherlands to rally diplomatic support for putting increased pressure on Turkey and Hungary to approve Sweden's membership of Nato. 

"The coming weeks will be extremely important," he told the TT newswire. "I am planning to meeting the foreign ministers of our Nato allies but also to travel round a number of Nato countries to make sure that the issue of Sweden joining remains high on the agenda."

The hope is that this will mean the pressure is high on Turkey and Hungary in the run-up to the Nato summit in Vilnius on July 11th and 12th.

Swedish vocabulary: att öka trycket – to increase pressure

Swedish government announces new director-general of Migration Agency

Inga Thoresson Hallgren, currently deputy director-general, will take over from current director-general Mikael Ribbenvik when his contract ends at the end of May.

Hallgren is chair of the board at the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority and has held various advisor roles in the Business Ministry between 2007 and 2018 – first under the Moderate-led Fredrik Reinfeldt government and later under Social Democrat prime minister Stefan Löfven.

Unlike her predecessor, who has worked at the Migration Agency for the last 24 years, Hallgren is relatively new to the agency: she first started working there in 2018.

Hallgren will serve as acting director-general from June 1st, 2023, until a replacement is found.

Swedish vocabulary: generaldirektör - director-general


Abba say 'no way' to reuniting on stage for Eurovision in Sweden next year

The 2024 Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Sweden, 50 years after Abba won the competition. But, sorry fans, it's a no from the group to performing at the event.

Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, one half of Abba, downplayed the prospect despite Sweden hosting Eurovision on the 50th anniversary of the band's win – the country's first – with their breakthrough hit Waterloo.

In an interview with the BBC's Newsnight programme, Andersson said there is "no way" the group will make a celebratory performance or even appearance.

"I don't want to. And if I don't want to, the others won't. It's the same for all four of us. Someone says no – it's a no," he explained.

Ulvaeus added: "We can celebrate 50 years of Abba without us being on stage."

Swedish vocabulary: att återförena - to reunite


Sweden experiencing 'worst property construction crisis since 1990s'

The rate at which new properties in Sweden are being built continues to fall, new figures from Statistics Sweden show.

The new figures show that the level of new builds in Sweden is at the lowest level in ten years, dropping 50 percent in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same period a year previously.

Anna Broman, an expert in property policy at the Swedish Construction Federation, Byggföretagen, has called for a crisis commission.

"We are in the worst crisis since the 1990s. Property building rates are going to drop by more than half in the space of two years," she said.

In 2021, around 70,000 homes were built, with that number expected to drop to 25,000 this year, according to the Swedish Construction Federation.

"Those most affected by this are young adults and other groups who need to get onto the property market. But this also affects all of our new industrialisation – the green transition – in Norrland," she said. "How can we get labour onto these sites if there aren't any homes?"

Swedish vocabulary: bostadsbyggandet - property construction


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