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

Emma Löfgren
Emma Löfgren - [email protected]
Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson and Moderate Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Furious Social Democrat leader hits back at PM over terrorism comments, 230 Swedes evacuate Gaza, and the government rolls out plans to test new arrivals on their Sweden skills. Here's the latest news.


Social Democrat leader hits back at PM over terrorism comments

Sweden's opposition leader, Magdalena Andersson, hit back at Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson after he criticised "parts" of the Social Democrats for "romanticising terrorism", specifically mentioning Social Democrat member of parliament Jamal El-Haj. El-Haj was widely criticised after he attended a conference in Malmö earlier this year which was also attended by alleged Hamas representatives.

"The person who Magdalena Andersson says has dedicated his life to fighting Hamas was there and took part, isn't that conspicuous?" said Kristersson, leader of the Moderates, in a debate in parliament. "I respect that people can have different opinions about the conflict in the Middle East, but this has dangerous consequences for anti-Semitism in Sweden."

Andersson had tears in her eyes when she responded.

"Ulf Kristersson, are you accusing Jamal El-Haj of romanticising terrorism? His daughter-in-law's family was wiped out a few days ago. Thirty-six people. In this dreadful war. You're saying that he romanticises terrorism and backs Hamas, that's a terrible accusation. You are the prime minister. How could you do something like this?"

Swedish vocabulary: a prime minister – en statsminister

230 Swedes evacuate Gaza

Around 230 Swedes have so far been able to leave Gaza via the border crossing at Rafah, the Swedish foreign ministry confirmed to TT. Around 70 of them evacuated on Wednesday.

The foreign ministry expects that more people will be able to evacuate on Thursday.

More than 500 people with Swedish citizenship or residency have contacted the foreign ministry to request help to leave Gaza, after Hamas’ terror attack sparked a series of Israeli retaliation attacks.

Swedish vocabulary: the foreign ministry – utrikesdepartementet (UD)


Compulsory 'Sweden test' for new arrivals

New arrivals will have to pass a test on Swedish society and values before they are able to receive social insurances and benefits, according to an inquiry soon to be launched by the government.

The compulsory course is currently called the “Sweden course”, and according to the DN daily it’s expected to include questions on equality, law and order, free speech and children’s rights.

The bid is part of the so-called Tidö Agreement between the right-wing coalition government and the far-right Sweden Democrats, and if it goes ahead it’s expected to be rolled out at some point during the second half of the government’s term. That would mean at some point in 2025 or 2026.

Swedish vocabulary: compulsory – obligatorisk


Swedbank: New work permit threshold 'a challenge' for Swedish model

Swedish banking giant Swedbank raises concern over the 'challenge' a new work permit salary threshold for non-EU citizens poses to the Swedish model.

In its most recent Economic Outlook report, Swedbank writes that the new work permit threshold challenges the Swedish model of determining salaries and salary raises, which are traditionally negotiated by unions and employer organisations without political influence.

"Above all, this could have a negative effect on the overall size of the workforce," Swedbank adds. "Which is a problem, as there is already a structural lack of core skills in Sweden."

Swedish vocabulary: a challenge – en utmaning


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