With a broad majority, the European Trade Union Confederation has voted in favour of a statutory minimum wage in Europe. In a response to the European Commission, the Confederation has given its approval for some form of minimum wage.
Swedish unions, employers and the government oppose the move, relying on trade unions to protect workers.
Former Swedbank CEO Birgitte Bonnesen is to be questioned by police at Sweden’s Economic Crime Authority, EBM, about the Baltic money laundering scandal.
The financial crime police suspect Swedbank’s management misled the stock market about the scandal, which came to light in the autumn of 2018. Bonnesen issued a number of statements in which she gave assurances that the situation was under control.
News emerged in February 2019 however, which indicated that at least SEK 40 billion had been laundered via the bank’s Baltic business.
Citing sources, Svenska Dagbladet says Bonnesen would be given formal notice that she is suspected of having committed a crime at the hearing, which will take place in April.
The possible consequences of the coronavirus on the Swedish economy has prompted the government to call a number of Swedish companies, including Volvo and Scania, to a meeting with Enterprise Minister Ibrahim Baylan (S).
When asked about what measures could be introduced, he did not want to speculate, saying, “The primary reason for the meeting is to get their perception.”
Sweden has a goal to reduce emissions from transport by 70% by 2030 and has introduced legislation to ensure that government policy is based on the climate goals. Despite this, current infrastructure plans are based on forecasts that road traffic will increase by 31% between 2014 and 2040.
“There is a conflict of goals, which politicians and other interests find difficult to manage. This must be addressed,” says Anders Roth, mobility expert at the Swedish Environmental Research Institute, IVL.
The broken budget process will not make life any easier for Sweden’s municipalities, warns Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson, after the opposition moved to grant local government an extra SEK 2.5 billion.
Talking to Dagens Industri, Andersson refutes claims that the government is on the defensive about welfare funding, saying it is “utter nonsense”. The Ministry of Finance had been investigating the possibility of injecting an additional SEK 5 billion to the municipalities in 2020 prior to the opposition’s decision to override the government, she says.
The Swedish National Debt Office (Riksgälden) has downwardly revised its forecast of Swedish GDP growth in 2020 to 1.0%, from 1.1%, warning that the coronavirus could have an impact on growth.
In a forecast of the government’s borrowing requirement, the Office finds that investment in housing has fallen by 12% since 2017, while the unemployment rate is expected to rise to 7.4% in 2021.
“The current slowdown means that resource utilisation is declining, which is contributing to rising unemployment. Wages are expected to continue to rise at a relatively slow pace in the future and are an important reason why inflation will be below the target of 2% throughout the forecasting period,” said the agency.
Following a meeting of EU finance ministers later today, Tuesday, the Cayman Islands, Palau, Panama and the Seychelles are set to be blacklisted over failure to comply with good governance standards on tax.
The ministers will also approve a European Commission examination of the imbalances in the economies of 13 member states, including Sweden. The Commission intends to study Swedish households’ high debt levels and the poorly functioning housing market. Brussels has previously warned that these imbalances entail risks for Sweden and has called for measures to be taken.
Ministers will also continue the discussion of Monday’s euro group about a reform of the Stability Pact’s budgetary rules, as well as the EU’s growth strategy, the Commission’s discharge of the 2018 budget and preparations for the G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in Riyadh on 22-23 February.
Swedbank experienced total IT chaos on Thursday night, which according to the bank was due to an internal network fault.
The outage caused problems for the bank’s seven million private customers and 600,000 corporate customers in Sweden and the Baltic States. Several of the bank’s central functions, card and Swish payments and trade in shares, as well as the app and homepage, were down.
A well-placed source within Swedbank told Dagens Industri that it is not thought to be a cyberattack.
Services were up and running again on Sunday.
The Liberals will be calling for the restructure of climate policy in the budget negotiations with the government and the Centre Party and will propose a SEK 2 billion investment to capture and store carbon dioxide.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology already exists and could be rolled out in just a matter of years, according to party leader Nyamko Sabuni.
In the initial phase, the system would focus on fossil-free plants, such as cogeneration plants fired by biomass, but the Liberals are open to the idea of allowing fossil-fired plants into the system as well.
According to the party’s proposal, compensation would amount to SEK 1,180 per tonne of captured carbon.
The OECD is leading efforts for a tax reform to ensure large and highly profitable multinational enterprises, including digital companies, pay tax wherever they have significant consumer-facing activities and generate their profits (ed.).
The OECD’s aim is to issue new recommendations by the summer and 130 countries will be committed to implementing them in the coming years. Tax expert Krister Andersson now warns that Sweden could be deprived of an estimated SEK 70 billion in tax revenues per year.
“The idea is to transfer tax revenues to countries where global companies sell their goods and services. Sweden has a small domestic market and a surplus in its trade and current account balance, so it will lose tax revenues,” he says.
The government is doing what it can to ensure the best possible solution, but the “basic attitude is that the changes will hamper global growth,” comments Leif Jakobsson, state secretary to Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson.
We are a small, but qualified team of graduates in politics, economics, English and classics dedicated to providing quality news digests in English that offer readers a first-hand look at the most important topics covered by the Swedish press. Here you will find a selection of the articles that are published in our Swedish Press Review.