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

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Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and social services minister Camilla Waltersson Grönvall at a press conference on Wednesday. Photo: Mikaela Landeström/TT

Swedish government calls for more children to be taken into care, Olympic dreams dashed and Sweden officially in recession. Here's Sweden's news on Thursday.



Sweden officially in recession as GDP shrinks for two consecutive quarters

Sweden's GDP in the third quarter of 2023 decreased by 0.3 percent, according to new statistics, meaning the country is officially in a recession rather than an economic downturn.

The decrease in GDP is mainly explained by a decrease in inventories and reduced household consumption, according to Statistics Sweden, which is behind the new figures.

“GDP decreased for the second consecutive quarter,” Jessica Engdahl, head of section at Statistics Sweden’s National Accounts Department, wrote in a statement.

“The downturn was general but counteracted in part by strong exports of services. Household consumption expenditure was negative for the fifth consecutive quarter.”

Calendar adjusted and compared with the third quarter of 2022, GDP decreased by 1.4 percent, according to the stats agency.

Swedish vocabulary: GDP (gross domestic product) – BNP (bruttonationalprodukt)

Sweden out of the running to host 2030 Winter Olympics

Sweden's bid to host "the most sustainable Olympics ever" was rejected by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at a press conference on Wednesday.

"I'm unbelievably disappointed," chairman of the Swedish Olympic Committee Hans von Uthmann said. "We had a strong concept and aimed to arrange the most sustainable Olympics ever, but now we don't have the chance to show that vision to the world."

Switzerland's Olympic bid was also rejected, with France – the host of the 2024 Summer Olympics – now the only country in the running to host the winter games in 2030. 

The IOC also offered an olive branch to Switzerland. Karl Stoss, head of the IOC's future host commission said the Swiss would now enter "privileged dialogue" for a bid for the 2038 Games.

Swedish vocabulary: Olympic Games – OS (Olympiska spelen). Winter Olympics – Vinter-OS


Swedish government calls for children of families involved with gangs to be taken into care

The Swedish government and its supporting party, the Sweden Democrats, has launched an inquiry into making it easier for children in families involved with gangs to be taken into care under the Swedish Care of Young Persons (Special Provisions) Act, also known as LVU.

"I am seriously concerned about children who are in practice raised directly into crime," Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said.

"Nowadays, it's not always possible to take children into care on those grounds," Social Service Minister Camilla Waltersson Grönvall said.

Under the current rules, a child can be taken into care if they personally commit a crime, but it needs to be easier to take a child into care if they are in a criminal environment, she continued.

Swedish vocabulary: taken into care – omhändertagen


Ikea sees five-fold increase in net profit in 2023

Swedish furniture giant Ikea saw a five-fold increase in net profit for its full-year 2023 which ended in August, boosted by rising sales, Ingka Group which owns most Ikea franchises said on Wednesday.

Ingka's net profit was 1.5 billion euros ($1.64 billion) for the year, up from 300 million euros in 2022 when earnings were hit by its pullout from the Russian market over the war in Ukraine.

Ingka called it a "good performance", despite the fact that "economic instability, geopolitical volatility, and the continued after-effects of the pandemic made for challenging moments in 2023."

Operating profit was stable, while Ingka's sales rose by 5.4 percent to 44.3 billion euros. Ingka accounts for more than 90 percent of Ikea's sales, which totalled 47.6 billion euros in 2023.

Swedish vocabulary: profit – vinst


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