🇪🇺 No guarantees for Sweden
To: Riedia Readers
|March 17, 2023||Sign Up|
Happy Friday! In today’s Riedia Sweden Morning Digest, we're covering:
Food prices taking a toll on the environment, no military guarantees for Sweden, plans to send the Archer defense systems to Ukraine, and TikTok v.s. the West.
— Viviana Levet, Julia Powanda, Carlos Lago
💰 New law to stop foreign acquisitions
Swedish operations are subject to threats from foreign investors.
The government is now moving forward to stop security-threatening investments from foreign powers. Cross-party politicians agree that the government needs better tools to stop foreign direct investment or takeovers of Swedish companies.
The issue has come to the forefront in recent years as China's economic strength and foreign investments have increased. The government is now submitting a bill to the Legislative Council for a new review system to ban such deals. A review authority will examine the investments in collaboration with other authorities.
Among the regulations, an obligation to notify the investor will be introduced.
Minister of Justice Gunnar Strömmer (M) warned, "the background to the legislative proposal is that the Swedish security situation has deteriorated over a long period of years." Minister of Civil Defense Carl-Oskar Bohlin (M) added that the lack of an audit system in Sweden is problematic, he believes that there may be foreign investments that should not have been allowed.
Swedish Security Service had warned that foreign investors with advanced schemes may bypass the review process. However, according to Strömmer, the system is robust, "the fact that everyone has a notification obligation eliminates, for example, the risk of foreign actors using Swedish fronts."
18 out of 27 EU countries already have this type of audit system in place. According to Strömmer, "Sweden is a bit behind schedule. Now it's time to step up with the outside world and strengthen security."
The Act is proposed to enter into force on December 1st, 2023.
by Niklas Svahn/TT, Anja Haglund/TT | edited by Riedia
🍌 Consumers continue ignoring organic food
Out in the country's grocery stores, organic food continues to be ignored by customers as they look for cheaper food. Why? Food prices, of course.
At the same time, many of the country's organic farmers are forced to adapt. Organic farming land equivalent to over 100 eco-farms has disappeared in just one year.
According to the Organic Annual Report 2022 that has just been released, not surprisingly, in the battle between conventionally produced versus organic food, the latter continues to take a beating in the country's supermarkets.
"The sale has been stagnating for a couple of years, but this year we see a drastic decrease," says Ida Lind, market and sustainability expert at Organic Farmers, who produced the report together with Organic Sweden, Krav, and Ecomatcentrum.
The hardest hit: organic-farmers
In general, the organic-trend in supermarkets has slowed down in recent years. During 2022 sales dropped in more countries due to increased food costs. However, that Sweden lost eco-sales even before, between 2017-2021, is something that stands out.
According to experts, many municipalities are taking away their eco-objectives out of concerns about not selling.
What is becoming increasingly clear, however, is that the situation affects the farmers. Organic farming has taken a hard hit by decreasing by a preliminary 13,000 hectares of arable land that disappeared in 2022.
The responsibility lies with politicians and the grocery trade, but also with the consumers – despite the harsh times that prevail. When you go shopping, you can choose which farm you want to support.
Sales of organic food in grocery stores decreased by 540 million in 2022. Sales of eco-products have slowed down since 2017. Organic fruit and vegetables, eco-eggs, and organic dairy products are lost in sales. The only category of organic food that increases slightly is meat.
by Anna Karolina Eriksson/TT | edited by Riedia
🪖 No military guarantees if Sweden is threatened
Sweden is at risk as the last non-aligned country in the Baltic Sea region to be placed in a vulnerable position. None of the "security insurance" or defense cooperation that Sweden is part of connects other countries to help Sweden militarily in an attack.
According to Jacob Westberg, Associate Professor of War Science at the Swedish Defense University, "if Sweden were to be threatened by Russia, there are currently no guarantees that other countries will come to Sweden's aid."
In international defense cooperation, Sweden has no mutually binding defense obligations. This means that the "security insurance" that Sweden has received from NATO countries such as the US, the UK, and Germany are just insurance and not guarantees.
The question of the defense of Sweden is raised by the fact that Türkiye (Turkey) is now said to be ready to ratify Finland's NATO application before the May elections. Sweden will then be surrounded by NATO countries, which has allegedly made the country safer.
At the same time, Sweden would be the only country in the Baltic Sea region not covered by Article 5. This means that threats and pressure from Russia can increase.
However, Jacob Westberg points out that Russia is currently busy in Ukraine and that few believe that Sweden needs to fear a military attack in the near future. Additionally, "even NATO has an interest that Russia does not control all or part of Swedish territory, as it would limit the alliance's ability to defend the Baltic countries and also Finland, if they become members," he says.
Still, how long is Sweden going to stay in NATO's waiting room remains unclear. If Sweden becomes a member of the NATO summit in Vilnius in July, it will be weeks or at most a few months until military aid is completely assured. However, the uncertainties surrounding the Turkish elections make the assessment difficult.
by Anja Haglund/TT | edited by Riedia
💥 Ukraine gets eight Archer systems
The government wants to give eight Archer artillery systems to Ukraine. Defense Minister Pål Jonson (M) says that the defense system, "will give the Ukrainians the ability to knock out Russian artillery systems."
Top of wish list
The Archer artillery system is high on Ukraine's wish list. Back in January the Swedish government announced that it wanted to supply Ukraine with the system, but said that it would require some preparation, which has now been completed. In an additional amending budget presented to Parliament yesterday, the government requested to send eight Archer systems to Ukraine. The government also asks that ten Leopard 2 tanks be sent to Ukraine, which was announced in mid-February.
The Archer is a self-propelled artillery system with eight-meter-long cannon tubes mounted on trucks. The Archer can be moved quickly, fired quickly, and has high accuracy. However, the Archer cannot match the range of the US Himars rocket artillery system. But according to Defense Minister Jonson, the Archer is a good complement to Himars and will be used primarily to knock out enemy artillery.
However, it will be several months before Ukraine can start using Archer in the field. Fireline computers will be installed, Ukrainian soldiers trained, and a "logistic hub" established near Ukraine for maintenance and repairs.
In the supplementary amending budget, the government is also asking to sell 14 Archer systems to the UK. According to Jonson, this deal allowed the British to send their own artillery system AS-90 to Ukraine.
Archer will replace the donated AS-90 until the UK has developed a new artillery system for the future. According to Jonson, Sweden provides an opportunity to find a strategic partner around Archer, which is important for the development of the weapons system. Today, only Sweden uses Archer.
Sweden and the UK are now aiming to cooperate on a logistics hub for the Archer system to be established near Ukraine. Sweden currently has 48 Archer systems, of which 24 are used by the Swedish Armed Forces. The other 24 are in storage and 22 of them are now being given to Ukraine or sold to the UK. The two that remain will be used by the Swedish Armed Forces to develop the Archer system.
In addition to eight Archer systems and ten tanks of Leopard 2 tanks, Sweden has decided to support Ukraine with 50 combat vehicles 90, anti-aircraft systems, and anti-tank weapons.
by Peter Wallberg/TT | edited by Riedia
What else is happening in Sweden?
🏛️ Prosecutors have initiated a preliminary investigation into a suspected kidnapping after a 16-year-old girl disappeared. Prosecutor Eva Winzell of the National Unit against international and organized crime says that the investigation is in the early stages and that there is currently a person who is reasonably suspected but has not yet been detained for the kidnapping.
🚨 Minister of Justice Gunnar Strömmer says that the penalties for blue light sabotage (the penalty for interfering with the work of emergency responders) needs to be reviewed. Strömmer's comments come in the wake of the decision by the Supreme Court (HD) to issue a reduced sentence for two men who participated in the Easter riots in Örebro. Instead of five years and six months respectively, the men were sentenced to three years and three months for gross blue light sabotage.
👮🏻♂️ The Administrative Court of Appeals has annulled the decision to cancel a demonstration in Norrköping during the Easter riots last year. In the middle of April last year, the police decided that Rasmus Paludan's Quran burning in the Navestad district in Norrköping should be canceled. The Administrative Court wrote in its decision that, "the majority of the Administrative Court of Appeal does not consider that the provisions of the Act of Procedure allow the police to cancel general meetings as a result of disturbances."
What is happening in the world?
🎵 The social platform Tiktok has confirmed that US representatives have called on the video app to go separate ways with the Chinese owner Bytedance to avoid being blocked in the US. Both the EU and the US have taken an increasingly restrictive approach to the app as they fear that user data can be misused by China. Additionally, several US media reported on Wednesday that the White House wants Tiktok banned in the US if it continues to be part of Bytedance.
🇨🇴 At least eleven people died in a mining explosion on Tuesday evening in Colombia , states the authorities. Ten people are missing while nine have been able to get out. According to the rescue services, five coal mines connected via tunnels and ventilation systems were affected, in what is described as a chain explosion caused by methane gas. President Gustavo Petro wrote on Twitter that rescue personnel are doing everything they can to reach the missing.
🚗 The EU Environment Ministers are discussing the demand for zero emissions from all new cars in the EU from 2035, which was agreed upon last autumn. However, Germany's sudden opposition to the deal has caused delays and uncertainty - Germany wants to allow new cars that run on e-fuel, a synthetic fuel, after 2035. This has caused concern among environmental groups and opposition parties in Sweden, where the Presidency of the Council of Ministers had hoped to hold a final vote on the matter last week. The delay in voting has raised uncertainty about the consequences of other climate issues.
🎮 The European computer games industry seeks recognition for its contribution to innovation, education, and climate work, and the need for skilled staff. The European Parliament is discussing a strategy for the industry, while the European Commission plans to present an initiative on virtual worlds in May to assist the industry and EU Member States.
💻 MSB reports a decline in cyber incidents reported to the agency from government agencies and social activities in 2022, with only 330 incidents reported, compared to 343 in 2021 and 374 in 2020. Out of these incidents, only 12% were classified as attacks, with 41% due to system errors and 26% due to mistakes. MSB stresses the importance of investing resources in security and being proactive to prevent incidents.
🤖 GPT-4 has just launched with improvements over ChatGPT. It has broader general knowledge and better problem-solving abilities. It can generate, edit, and iterate on creative and technical writing tasks, and accept images as inputs. GPT-4 outperforms ChatGPT in advanced reasoning capabilities and scoring among test-takers, but just like ChatGPT, it doesn't know about events after September 2021.
🎤 "Ukrainian Open Mic" in Stockholm is an event open to anyone who wants to recite Ukrainian poems or share interesting experiences related to Ukraine, Sweden, war, escape, or any other topic. The event also features a musical performance by the Swedish-Ukrainian blue-yellow cabaret KARMA LOOK, playing rock hits in various languages, happening today from 18:30 to 21:30 at Teater Giljotin in Stockholm. The event also includes a musical performance and exhibitions of Ukrainian art.
🏙️ Zero City , in the Tekniska Museet in Stockholm, is an interactive exhibition aiming to plan transportation in a fossil-free city to meet climate goals. Visitors will create a city without fossil-fueled cars, using efficient public transport, electric vehicles, and dedicated spaces for walking and cycling. Explore different areas of the city and plan a climate-smart future.
🏛️ The Museum of Gothenburg celebrates the 400th anniversary of the City of Gothenburg with an exhibition on the city's birth and childhood. Explore the history of the first Gothenburgers, experience 1600s-style social media, and unravel the mystery of the Silver Heart ornament. The exhibition portrays the city's teenage years of disease, war, and conflict, highlighting the overlooked stories of vulnerable individuals.
Discover Sweden - Culture
🐦 Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Sweden's national bird is the Common Blackbird , also known as the Eurasian Blackbird. It is a medium-sized bird that belongs to the thrush family. The male Common Blackbird has black feathers and a bright yellow beak and eye-ring, while the female has brownish-grey plumage with a duller beak and eye-ring.
The Common Blackbird is a widespread and common bird throughout Europe, including Sweden. It is known for its melodious and beautiful song, which is often heard during the breeding season.
The Common Blackbird is a resident bird in Sweden, which means that it stays in the country all year round. It can be found in a variety of habitats, including woodlands, parks, gardens, and urban areas. The bird feeds on a diet of insects, earthworms, fruits, and berries.
The choice of the Common Blackbird as Sweden's national bird reflects the bird's popularity and widespread presence throughout the country. It was officially declared the national bird of Sweden in 1962.
The Swedish Ornithological Society decided to redo the vote in 2015 over concerns that the blackbird only won because a majority of the votes cast in the original election were from Stockholm, but the blackbird pulled through and was able to win re-election .
by Julia Powanda/Riedia
Made with 💛 in Stockholm
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