The general welfare in Sweden means that
everyone is entitled to a pension and a number of social
insurance benefits, regardless of their financial
position. It is financed by taxes, employers 'fees and
to some extent employees' own contributions.
Social insurance is managed by the Swedish Social
Insurance Agency and mainly includes child support,
parental allowance, housing allowance, disability
benefit, sickness benefit and sickness and activity
allowance (formerly called early retirement pension).
Payments from Försäkringskassan in 2017 amounted to SEK
228 billion, or just under 5 percent of GDP. Just over
half went to sick people and people with disabilities,
and a third to children and families.
Countryaah Official Site:
Official statistics for population in Sweden, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
Pensions have been managed since 2010 by the Pensions
Agency, which took over the work of the former Premium
Pension Authority, as well as the tasks handled by the
Swedish Social Insurance Agency's pension department.
A new general pension system began to be introduced
in 1999 and means that the pension is affected by the
country's economic growth. The system is divided into
three main parts: income pension, premium pension and
guarantee pension. The income pension is based on the
total income during life and may be taken out from the
age of 61. Two and a half percent of the annual
pensionable income is called a premium pension and may
be invested freely in, for example, mutual funds. The
guarantee pension is aimed at those who have had limited
income or have not worked and may be taken out from the
age of 65. At the end of 2017, a majority of the Riksdag
agreed on changes in the age levels in the pension
Employees are entitled to 25 vacation days each year.
Parental leave covers 16 months, of which 12 with 80 per
cent of the salary up to a certain limit. Two months are
earmarked for each parent. Men took 28 percent of
parental leave in 2017. The sickness benefit amounts to
80 percent of the salary, up to a certain ceiling, from
the second day of illness.
Sick leave and, above all, early retirement increased
over a number of years and became an increasing burden
on the state. After a peak in 2003, the so-called
ill-health rate fell steadily for several years.
Stricter control to curb cheating was introduced in 2005
and the rules were tightened in 2008, although after
strong criticism they were revised somewhat thereafter.
The government's goal was to get more people to return
to work, but the critics felt that many sick people were
affected by unreasonable demands. From 2010, the number
of ill-health has increased again, which is partly due
to the fact that previously insured individuals have
returned to health insurance.
Health care is largely tax-financed, but primary and
elderly care in particular is increasingly performed by
private operators. Health care maintains a high
standard, but is criticized, among other things, for
long waiting times for planned interventions.
As in most parts of the world, the views on LGBTQ
rights have changed significantly in recent decades.
Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1944, but acceptance
remained low in society. Sweden became the first country
in the world in 1979 to stop classifying homosexuality
as a disease.
Gay couples in Sweden were given the right to enter
into marriage in 2009. From 1995 there was the right to
enter into a registered partnership, and even before the
marriage bar became gay, gays were given the right to
have joint custody of children, become adoptive parents
and have access to assisted conception. Since 2011,
there has been a ban on discrimination based on sexual
orientation in the Constitution. According to critics,
there is much left to do regarding transgender rights.
FACTS - SOCIAL CONDITIONS
2 per 1000 births (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean
100.0 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to
99.3 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a
percentage of GDP
11.0 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person
US $ 5,711 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament
46 percent (2018)
Fire attack against mosques
Three mosques - in Eskilstuna, Eslöv and Uppsala -
are subject to fire attacks during the last week of the
year. In Eskilstuna, five people are injured. Culture
Minister Alice Bah Kunke says that the government should
develop a national strategy against Islamophobia.
New elections averted by "December agreement"
At a joint press conference, the government and
alliance parties announce that they have reached a
settlement on how Sweden should be governed even with a
minority government. According to the "December
Agreement", the party grouping that receives the
greatest electoral support should have its prime
ministerial candidate elected and a minority government
should get through its budget. In addition, no part of
the budget can be broken out (see December 2013).
The six party leaders have also agreed on three
political areas in which to work across the block
boundary: pensions, defense and energy. The settlement
will be valid until the election in 2022, ie two terms
of office. The Left Party is not part of the agreement,
but welcomes it. SD responds by saying that the party
intends to request a vote of no confidence against
Try to avoid new elections
Intense political debate follows the budget drama,
with accusations between the blokes about who tried to
"reach out" and who has refused to cooperate. Soon it
becomes clear that negotiations are under way to find a
settlement that would make it possible to avoid the new
election; very little indicates that it would lead to a
change in the parliamentary situation.
New elections are planned after budget cuts
After the vote in which the government's budget was
voted down, the prime minister announces that he will
announce extra elections for parliament. The
announcement will take place on December 29, the
earliest possible date, and the election will be held on
March 22, 2015.
Government crisis after budget outage
The day before Parliament is to vote on the budget,
the Swedish Democrats announce that they intend to vote
on the Alliance's budget motion. Thus, the government
does not receive support for its budget, and the result
is a government crisis. The SD also says that the party
will in the future try to trap all governments that want
to increase immigration, and points out the Environment
Party as an "extremist party". Deputy party leader
Mattias Karlsson says the error is the prime minister's,
as he has not wanted to negotiate with the SD.
Unchanged care choice
Following criticism from the Law Council, the
government withdraws a proposal to change the rules for
the free choice of care, which the previous government
introduced. According to the proposal, county councils
would no longer be required to offer care choices. The
Law Council considers that the proposal has been
submitted too hastily and that the consequences are too
Swedes in IS
Säpo states that around 100 Swedes are estimated to
have joined the extremist group Islamic State (IS) and
to participate in fighting in Iraq and Syria.
Mediterranean institutions may retain funds
The government amends a decision to withdraw funding
for the Mediterranean institutes, three research and
cultural institutes in Athens, Istanbul and Rome,
following extensive criticism.
Changed asylum forecast
The Swedish Migration Agency re-writes the figures on
the number of asylum seekers expected to come to Sweden
in 2015 to 95,000, which is 18,000 more than was
predicted six months earlier. In 2014, the number of
asylum seekers is estimated at 83,000, which in itself
is a large increase. The large flow raises questions
about the municipalities' responsibility for receiving
asylum applications, and about the lack of housing.
Palestine formally recognized
The government formally recognizes Palestine, to
which Israel responds by calling its ambassador from
Stockholm. Large parts of the opposition in Sweden are
also very critical of the decision.
The repo rate is zero
For the first time, the Riksbank lowers its key
policy rate to 0 percent, from 0.25 percent (see July
2009), which means that the banks can borrow free of
charge from the Riksbank. The main reason stated is that
inflation is too low.
Jimmie Åkesson sick leave
SD leader Jimmie Åkesson is on sick leave
indefinitely for fatigue syndrome. Group leader Mattias
Karlsson temporarily takes over the leadership of the
Submarine hunting outside Stockholm
The military launches an extensive search in the
archipelago for information that a damaged Russian
submarine has been targeted. At least three "probable
observations" of an underwater vehicle are made at
different locations. Moscow denies Russian presence, but
the search continues for a week before the military
blows off the operation, noting that any vessels are
likely to have left the archipelago. The possible
intrusion revives in the debate about the major cuts
made in the defense.
Declaration of Government and new government
When Prime Minister Löfven reads his declaration of
government, there is an unexpected element that Sweden
should recognize Palestine as a state. Furthermore, the
parental allowance must be abolished, as is the right to
a routine deduction for homework. Instead, money should
be invested in homework for all children. Löfven also
presents the new government. Margot Wallström becomes
new Foreign Minister, Magdalena Andersson becomes
Finance Minister and Morgan Johansson Minister of
Justice. Of 24 ministers, 6 are environmentalists and
the rest are social democrats. The gender distribution
Stefan Löfven becomes prime minister
S leader Stefan Löfven is elected head of government.
The support is weak: only social democrats and
environmentalists vote yes. The Swedish Democrats vote
no while both the Left Party and all the bourgeois
Parliament appointed Social Democrat Urban Ahlin as
new president. First Deputy Speaker will be Moderate
Tobias Billström and Second Deputy Speaker Sweden
Democrat Björn Söder. The choice of the South is
controversial; he is an unusually contentious
representative of his party after a series of statements
about immigrants, Muslims and homosexuals, among others.
A closed ballot is requested and three rounds are
required and will take over three hours before Söder is
elected. Support is low: 52 of the 344 parliamentarians
present vote for, while the rest cast their votes.
V is rated by Löfven
Left Party leader Jonas Sjöstedt makes it clear that
the party would like to be part of the government, but
may call the hand of S leader Stefan Löfven. The future
prime minister makes it clear that S wants to form a
government with MP, and also seek support from the
central parties FP and C in parliament.
The Moderate Leader resigns
Fredrik Reinfeldt leaves the party leader post after
the election defeat and Finance Minister Anders Borg
also says he is now leaving politics.
Election loss for the government
The election ends as expected with defeat for the
alliance parties, but the red-green opposition is only
increasing slightly. The election's big winner will be
the SD, supported by 12.9 percent of the electorate in
the parliamentary elections (49 seats) and make major
incursions into county councils and municipalities
around the country. For M, defeat becomes stifling; the
party receives support of 23.3 percent (84 seats), which
is the lowest figure since the 2002 election. The other
bourgeois backs more marginally. C gets 6.1 percent
(22), FP 5.4 (19) and KD 4.6 percent (16). S gets 31.0
percent (113), MP 6.9 percent (25) and V 5.7 percent
(21). FI, which made a rapid advance at the end, gets
3.1 percent and is thus without parliamentary place.
Severe forest fire in Västmanland
One person dies, hundreds of people are forced to
leave their homes and both homes and around 14,000
hectares of forest areas are destroyed in what is
described as the worst forest fire in modern times.
Assistance with water bombing plan may be called in from
Italy and France. The government allocates SEK 300
million to support affected municipalities and forest
Wall promises in the Almedalen
The traditional Almedals week in Visby will be a
prelude to the September elections. Alliance parties
promise a major investment on high-speed trains, having
previously been strong opponents. The Social Democrats
propose a bank tax and talk about the ceiling for the
size of children's groups in preschool.
The IMF warns about household debt
In its annual Sweden report, the International
Monetary Fund highlights the high debt of households and
the size of the banking sector as risks in the Swedish
economy. The IMF is also calling for measures to reduce
unemployment and increase housing construction.
Right Liberal Summit in Sörmland
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfelt welcomes German
Chancellor Angela Merkel, UK Prime Minister David
Cameron and Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte and
discusses the future of the EU. The summit is held at
Harpsund, the prime minister's official recreation
center in Södermanland.
High turnout in EU elections
The interest contributes to voter turnout in the
European Parliament elections 50%, an increase from 45%
in the previous EU elections and significantly higher
than the EU average of 43%. The election result
represents a strong success for SD but also for the
overall left. S is the closest and stomps, but MP and
Feminist initiative (Fi) are progressing strongly and V
is increasing slightly. MP goes for M as the second
largest party and Fi, like SD, is sitting in Parliament
in Brussels for the first time. For M, it is a disaster
choice and even FP loses significantly, while C and KD
increase slightly (all in relation to the last EU
election). The pirate party goes out. S gets 24.2% (-0.2
compared to the 2009 election), MP 15.4% (+4.4), M 13.6%
(-5.2), FP 9.9% (-3, 7), SD 9.7% (+6.4), V 6.3% (+0.6),
Fi 5.5% (+3.3), C 6.5% (+1.0), KD 5.9% (+1.3), Pirate
Party 2.2% (-4.9).
Hot before EU elections
The political debate is unusually high before the
European Parliament elections. This is partly due to the
fact that elections to the parliament, county councils
and the municipality take place in the autumn, but also
to a large mobilization against xenophobia and racism.
The Swedish Democrats 'active campaign, but also the
focus on the neo-Nazi Swedes' party, has sparked a wave
of protests and counter-demonstrations around the
Compensation for room registers
The Chancellor of Justice decides that 4,700 people
who are in a register of Roma should receive SEK 5,000
each in compensation, provided they request it. The
register with the Skånepolisen was revealed by Dagens
nyheter 2013 and turned out to include a large number of
children and a number of deceased people. The register
has been declared illegal and has sparked much debate
about the police's working methods and the vulnerable
position of the Roma.
In the first judgments following the violence in
Kärrtorp in December 2013, seven Nazis are convicted of
violent riots. Three men receive six and eight months'
imprisonment respectively, while four teenagers are
sentenced to juvenile care or service. Another 30 people
are being investigated for crimes in connection with the
incident, including those with links to left-wing
Murdered are released after legal scandal
Sture Bergwall, formerly known as Thomas Quick, is
released after more than 20 years of closed psychiatric
care. He has since been released from previous murder
convictions, in what many call Sweden's biggest legal
scandal in modern times. Bergwall admitted over 30
murders in connection with therapy and was convicted in
all eight cases tried in court. He later withdrew the
confessions which he said had been made under heavy
medication, and was released after raising applications
when the witness and technical evidence were missing.
Frozen aid to Uganda
The strict anti-gay law recently adopted in Uganda
causes Sweden to follow several other European
countries, which have already stopped their assistance
Headwind for the opposition
Several polls before the parliamentary elections in
September indicate that the red-green parties may get
their own majority, with between 51 and 53 percent of