Negotiations are heating up in Brussels and Strasbourg over the EU’s most important tool for lowering emissions of carbon dioxide, emissions trading. Today the parliament will make a decision on the issue. Around 13,000 industries will be affected and together could be forced to pay billions of euros more per year for their emissions up until 2030.
However there are widely diverging views and Jytte Guteland (S), who sits in the environmental committee, says, “Everyone was nervous about how we would bring about a solution. It was tough but it ended with an agreement.”
On Monday the Swedish government raised its ambitions saying that fewer industries should be able to avoid paying for their emissions and that more emission rights would be annulled. However Centre Party MEP Fredrick Federley has attacked the government for raising its ambitions only six days before a decision is to be made, saying it is almost impossible to change the position of members at such short notice.
The Swedish government is doing too little to stop international tax havens for companies, according to Oxfam, one of the world’s largest aid organisations. Oxfam wants to see Sweden working more actively with Country-by-Country Reporting, CBCR, which forces multinational companies to account for sales, profits and tax according to the countries they are operating in. There is a proposal to enforce this at EU level, however, Sweden has not supported it, says Esme Bekout from Oxfam.
Finance minister Magdalena Andersson points out that international work against tax havens has made huge progress. However it is also about compromise and not pushing so far that countries stop cooperating.
A number of EU agencies will have to relocate from the UK in the aftermath of Brexit, write ministers Mikael Damberg, Helene Hellmark Knutsson, Gabriel Wikström and Ann Linde in a DI debate article this morning.
Announcing that the government will decide today to go ahead with a campaign to relocate the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to the Stockholm-Uppsala region, the four cite a number of reasons as to why Sweden should host the EMA, including a long tradition of drugs development and production.
SvD reports the government is now proposing that Swedish companies will no longer be permitted to declare their taxes in a single lump sum. From next year large companies should declare how much they pay in each country they operate in.
Furthermore the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) is to increase the exchange of tax information with other countries’ tax authorities. The purpose is to give Skatteverket more power to tackle tax evasion.
Minister for finance Magdalena Andersson says, “This will be an important tool making it easier for Skatteverket to effectively assess whether companies are paying the correct tax and see whether it is the case that a company is not paying tax in any country.”
The board of the International Monetary Fund, IMF, has stated that Sweden’s economy continues to develop well but the government ought to deal with growing household debt. It predicts Sweden’s GDP to increase by 3.4% this year and 2.4% next year. The budget deficit is expected to be small this year and next year despite migration costs and investments in training and the labour market.
“Despite beneficial conditions on the labour market it still takes too long to get new arrivals into work, and unemployment is high among workers born abroad with little education,” writes the IMF. It also suggests reforms are needed to tackle the rise in house prices.
A new study from Transparency International, TI, shows that 92 per cent of Swedes state that business leaders in the country are corrupt to varying degrees, and 15 per cent believe that all or most of business leaders are corrupt. Compared to previous surveys mistrust has grown and business leaders now make up the group Swedes have least trust in when it comes to corruption.
It is most likely recent high-profile corruption scandals that have led to mistrust, says Johan Mörck, from Transparency International Sweden.
Today Sweden and the USA sign a deal so that passengers can pass through American border controls in Sweden. The preclearance deal makes it easier for people to travel and makes Sweden more attractive for businesses to place their head offices, according to the government.
The Swedish krona has weakened markedly in recent years; it traded at 8.30 against the euro in 2011, compared to today’s 9.70, all the while the euro has weakened against the US dollar. With the exception of a couple of banana republics, no other country has become so poor so quickly. No one seems to care, apart from Riksbank governor Stefan Ingves who is actually celebrating. Why? Well, the weaker the krona, the more expensive imports become, which means the rate of inflation will rise, and this is exactly what the head of the central bank wants. The fact that Sweden is becoming poorer by the day does not seem to matter to the fundamentalists, writes business daily Dagens Industri. Everything is being sacrificed at the altar of monetary policy.
At this weekend’s annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund in Washington, head Christine Lagarde will be urging finance ministers around the world to implement reforms to spur on inflation and growth.
However, Sweden’s Magdalena Andersson has no intention of expanding policy. Ahead of her trip to Washington she tells SvD: “We are pursuing a tight fiscal policy. We have chosen a different path”. The minister does add though that the leeway has increased somewhat, given the move to lower the surplus target level in 2019.
She believes a fairer distribution of profits is needed if the vicious cycle of sluggish global growth, populism and protectionism is to be reversed. Highlighting the way in which the widening gap between rich and poor in the United States creates frustration, she says: “the only way to reverse this is for politicians to ensure that the gains to be made from globalisation and free trade benefit everyone”.
After discussions with Ericsson’s chair Leif Johansson, minister for enterprise Mikael Damberg chose to activate a crisis group for handling potentially huge redundancies.
The news that telecoms giant Ericsson plans to move all manufacturing from Sweden, which would cost 3,000 jobs, was met with surprise and dismay by employees, politicians and unions.
Mikael Damberg spoke directly to chair Leif Johansson on Thursday and says that he has been given confirmation that there is no closure decision. However the conversation did not provide any further reassurance as the minister decided to activate a crisis group of several state secretaries afterwards. “It is a group that works with large changes in business, which is now being activated to be able to act if a decision in that direction comes from the company,” says Mikael Damberg.