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

TT/AFP/The Local
TT/AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
Three of the brands owned by Academedia sharing a location in Södermalm, Stockholm. Photo: Stefan Jerrevång/TT

Former central bank chief calls for Sweden to join euro, sale of Academedia school chain halted, and other news from Sweden on Monday.

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Former Riksbank chief calls on Sweden to join euro

Stefan Ingves, the former chief of Sweden's Riksbank, has called for Sweden to join the euro, liberalise rent laws, scrap Sweden's interest deduction, and merge the country's Financial Supervisory Authority and the Riksbank central bank together. 

In an interview with the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper, Ingves said that having the euro was a precondition for having a Swedish representative on the board of the European Central Bank, where crucial decisions are made. 

"If you're not in the euro, you are de facto only a half member of the EU," he told the newspaper. "It seems very weird and stubborn for Sweden to hold onto its own currency." 

It was "deeply unfortunate", he added, that Swedes needed to borrow such large amounts of money to get onto the housing ladder and called for radical reform of taxes and of the rules around the housing market, including liberalisation of the rental sector, increased construction of rental apartments, a higher tax on property ownership, and scrapping of the Sweden's interest deduction. 

Swedish vocabulary: hårdnackat - stubborn

Online retailers in Sweden report strongest month since March 2021

Online retailers in Sweden have reported their best month since March 2021, boosting their turnover by 19 percent this January compared to the same month last year, taking their total intake 11.6 billion kronor.  

Sweden's retail trade body, Swedish Commerce, put the rise down to a longer period of sales following Christmas, which stretched out long into the New Year. 

Swedish vocabulary: rea - sale 

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Swedish private equity group halts sale of Academedia schools group 

The Swedish private equity group Mellby Gård has halted the sale of the schools giant Academedia to the property billionaire Roger Akelius after a wave of negative reactions from investors. 

"This does not feel at all good. The most important thing when you do a deal is that your gut feeling is that it is right. You should be able to sleep well at night and it should be positive for the company and its employees," Mellby Gård's chief executive, Johan Andersson, told the Dagens Industri newspaper. 

Academedia is one of Sweden's largest chains of free schools, running brands like NTI, Rtymus, ProCivitas, Klara, Innovita school, Montessori Mondial, Nobla school, Pops Academy, Vittra and Snitz. 

Akelius said he had agreed to withdraw his bid after being contacted by Andersson. 

"Rune and Johan are my friends so the answer was simple. My ambition to develop pedagogical methods in Sweden remains, but I will present my plans in a completely different context later." 

Swedish vocabulary: ett sammanhang - a context 

Astronaut Marcus Wandt arrives in Sweden after space mission 

The Swedish astronaut Marcus Wandt has landed in Sweden, with Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and his wife Karina Wandt both there to greet him at Stockholm's Bromme Airport. 

"It's absolutely wonderful to be back," Wandt said at a short press conference after his arrival. "I am so proud to have carried out this mission. Extremely proud." 

 Sweden's minister for higher education, Mats Persson, joked in a welcome speech about the delay to Wandt's return due to poor weather in Florida.

"Thanks for coming home. We were a little bit worried for a while," he said. 

Wandt was in space for 17 days and has been back on earth for a week. 

Swedish vocabulary: orolig - worried

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Hungary 'on course' to ratify Sweden NATO bid this month: PM Orban

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Saturday that his country was "on course" to ratify Sweden's NATO accession bid this month as Budapest remains the last holdout.

"The good news is that our current dispute with Sweden is moving towards a conclusion," Orban said in his state-of-the-nation address.

"Together with the Swedish PM, we have taken important steps in order to rebuild trust," he said, without giving further details.

"We are on course to ratify Sweden's accession to NATO at the beginning of parliament's spring session," he added.

Parliament is scheduled to reconvene on February 26.

On Wednesday, Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said his country hoped that Hungary will soon ratify its accession to NATO, removing the last obstacle to its membership.

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