🌊 No offshore wind after all?
To: Riedia Readers
Good morning! Today is Friday. In today’s Riedia Sweden Morning Digest, we're covering:
Swedish defense rejects offshore wind projects, the government investigates a new proposal to report undocumented immigrants, and more bad news for Sweden's NATO application.
—Julia Powanda and Carlos Lago
🇹🇷 Election decided - Türkiye becoming more authoritarian
Türkiye's opposition is weakened. The chances of a change of power in Ankara in Sunday's second round of voting are extremely small.
Instead, Türkiye is predicted to become more authoritarian and nationalist as Recep Tayyip Erdogan moves towards another term. This is bleak news for both the Turkish economy and Sweden's NATO application.
The May 14th election was a shock for the opposition. Incumbent President Erdogan secured 49.5 percent of the vote while challenger Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, buoyed by historically high polling numbers, received barely 45 percent of voter support.
Bitte Hammargren, a journalist and author who has long covered Türkiye and the Middle East, notes that Erdogan's dominance over the media, institutions, and treasury paid off. Attempts to vote out an authoritarian system failed.
Ahead of Sunday's second round of voting - necessary as none of the candidates reached 50 percent - the opposition's hopes appear to have been crushed. Erdogan is only about 550,000 votes away from victory, while Kiliçdaroglu needs the support of at least an additional 2.7 million Turks. For Hammargren, who recently published the book "Never-Ending Drama: Türkiye 100 years," the election is decided. .
The chances did not increase with Monday's announcement from ultranationalist Sinan Ogan, who received just over five percent in the first round. Ogan then said that he is backing Erdogan, which is believed to make it even more difficult for Kiliçdaroglu to attract Ogan's voters.
"With Ogan on board, Erdogan can continue to ride the Turkish nationalist wave. It makes it harder for Kiliçdaroglu to win enough votes from Ogan's camp that would actually change something," says Bitte Hammargren.
For Sweden, the Turkish election has primarily been about which president would approve Sweden's NATO application the quickest. Kiliçdaroglu has promised to put an end to Türkiye's opposition to Sweden joining NATO if he wins. With Erdogan, it looks bleaker.
In a CNN interview last week, the President claimed that Türkiye is still not ready to admit Sweden into the defense alliance. The big question is what will happen at NATO's summit in Lithuania in July, says Bitte Hammargren.
Another term with Erdogan at the helm means that Türkiye is becoming increasingly authoritarian - at the same time as the global trend of authoritarian regimes being strengthened through the ballot box, according to Hammargren. Many in the opposition fear "the worst": that Erdogan will remain in power for life.
🇸🇪 Government moves forward with duty to report undocumented immigrants
Despite criticism, the government is determined to move forward with a proposal to force teachers, healthcare workers, and social workers to report undocumented immigrants.
An investigation will be launched "soon," according to Minister for Migration Maria Malmer Stenergard (M).
"There are conflicting objectives, and I understand that there are professional groups who believe that this goes against ethics," she told TT news agency and added:
"But I want to emphasize how crucial it is that we have a public Sweden that pulls in the same direction, where everyone contributes to enforcing announced decisions and judgments as far as possible."
According to the minister, it is about ensuring that resources go to those who have protection needs, not individuals who have been denied asylum or are illegally residing in the country.
Not informing on others
During a mini-debate in parliament's question time, Lorena Delgado Varas (V) asked if it would not be best for the government to drop the proposal.
She noted that several representatives and individual employees in municipalities, regions, and authorities, as well as in healthcare, schools, and care, have flagged that they will never engage in what many of them call informing on others. The government and the Sweden Democrats refer to it as a duty to report or inform about undocumented immigrants.
"I strongly distance myself from the phrase 'informing-on-others law'; here, we are referring to public employees in their duties," Malmer Stenergard said in the debate with Delgado Varas.
The minister says that the investigation will be launched soon, at least that is the ambition.
She also says that the investigator will be tasked with considering whether exceptions are needed.
"We have agreed between the Tidö parties that we should investigate whether there are situations that would conflict with compassionate values, such as in healthcare for example," says Malmer Stenergard.
According to her, it will be quite a comprehensive task to investigate exceptions and she does not want to speculate on what it could be about. But she still says it could be in situations involving life-sustaining care.
"But not for broader 'care that cannot wait'."
She does not want to speculate on whether there would be grounds for exceptions in schools.
⚡ Defense rejects six offshore wind projects
The Swedish Defense Force is rejecting or lodging strong objections to six out of the eight offshore wind projects that are still awaiting government approval. This was reported by Dagens Nyheter , which has obtained the agency's opinion statements on all wind power projects that have come before the government.
Last week, the government gave the green light to two offshore wind parks off the coast of Halland. The Defense Force had objected to the largest of the projects, citing possible "significant harm" to Sweden's military interests.
The Defense Force does not provide details when it objects to wind power due to confidentiality. However, difficult decisions lie ahead since Russia's aggressive actions have changed the security policy landscape in the Baltic Sea, according to DN.
What else is happening in Sweden?
🔌 State-owned energy giant Vattenfall is lowering electricity network fees by an average of 34% in Sweden, effective from July 2022. The reduction amounts to SEK 1.1 billion in revenue and is being implemented due to unexpectedly low electricity prices compared to last year. Competitor Ellevio is considering following suit but has not yet made a decision.
😷 Sweden's National Audit Office has found several shortcomings in the country's infection control measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting limitations with the government's management of the issue, outdated laws, and a lack of preparedness for widespread infections. The audit recommends using lessons from the pandemic to develop infection control measures.
📊 New figures from Statistics Sweden show that unemployment has decreased to 7.2% in April compared to previous months, with the decrease most noticeable among young people. At the same time, the employment rate has increased from 69.6% in March to 69.7% in April, with the labor market continuing to show no significant signs of slowing down. These figures are in line with the monthly statistics from the Employment Service.
What is happening in the world?
🇺🇦 Ukrainian pilots will be given the opportunity to test fly the Swedish fighter jet Jas 39 Gripen, and practice using simulators, as the country looks to upgrade its defense capabilities. Swedish defense equipment is already being used by Ukrainian military units, and the orientation training will provide the country with a decision-making basis for future upgrades. However, no firm plans are in place to deploy the Swedish jets in the country's ongoing conflict with Russia.
🇷🇼 A suspect for involvement in the Rwandan genocide in 1994, Fulgence Kayishema, has been arrested in South Africa. Kayishema is considered one of the four individuals responsible for the deaths of an estimated 800,000 people during the genocide. The Rwandan genocide was led by extreme nationalists from the majority Hutu ethnic group, leading to the deaths of mostly Tutsi ethnic minorities.
🇫🇮 A multi-million-dollar "fishing cottage" built for Russian President Vladimir Putin is standing abandoned and deteriorating outside the Finnish town of Savonlinna, according to reports. Valued at over 3 million euros, the vacation property was financed by a longtime friend of Putin from his student days and features an elevator, wine cellar, underground garage, pool, sauna, billiard room, and eight toilets. Putin visited the property in 2017, but reportedly said he was not interested in fishing in Finland, and the building was never finished.
📉 Mobile phone calls have decreased in Sweden, with spoken minutes falling by 6% in 2020, possibly due to the rise of communication apps. Meanwhile, the use of 5G networks for data is increasing rapidly.
🇺🇦 Business Sweden, which is half-owned by the Swedish state and represented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is opening an office in war-torn Ukraine to help Swedish companies establish contacts and find the right strategies, as contracts worth billions of dollars are on the horizon for the rebuilding effort after the conflict. Swedish exports to Ukraine fell by 34% to SEK 3.2 billion last year, which represented 0.2% of Sweden's total exports, according to the authority Kommerskollegium.
🚧 New housing construction in Sweden declined by 50% in Q1 2023 compared to the same period last year, according to SCB, bringing it to the lowest level in a decade. The decrease was particularly sharp in Stockholm and other large cities, with a 68% decline in Greater Stockholm alone. Multi-family houses accounted for the majority of new homes.
🎵 Summer music festivals are back in Sweden! From June to August, there will be a variety of concerts and festivals across the country, featuring headliners such as Coldplay, Iron Maiden, and Swedish House Mafia. Whether you're a fan of rock, pop, or reggae, there's something for everyone to enjoy this summer. Read more about the events here.
🎶 The Stockholm Jazz Festival has announced additional performers for its upcoming event in October, including Leela James, Monty Alexander with trio, and Joyce. Festival director Eric Birath highlights the inclusion of Brazilian music pioneers Joyce and Bixiga 70 in the line-up. The festival will take place from October 13-22.
Discover Sweden - Society
Sweden has been a pioneering country in providing accessible and inclusive fertility treatments.
In 2005, Sweden became the first country in the world to offer publicly funded assisted reproductive technology (ART), including IVF, to all couples, regardless of their marital status or sexual orientation. This progressive approach reflects Sweden's commitment to equality and ensuring reproductive rights for all its citizens.
By making IVF accessible to a wide range of individuals and couples, Sweden has played a significant role in advancing reproductive healthcare and breaking down barriers to fertility treatments.
by Julia Powanda/Riedia