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ENERGY

Top Moderates accuse government of ‘breaking promise’ on power prices

Leading Moderate Party politicians in Skåne have attacked the new government for failing to deliver the promised support to those suffering sky high power bills in the southern Swedish county.

Top Moderates accuse government of 'breaking promise' on power prices
Carl Johan Sonesson, the Moderate who leads the regional government in Skåne, said the government had broken its promise to voters. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

“This is not the high-cost protection we were promised and which we promised our voters,” Carl Johan Sonesson, the Moderate head of Skåne’s regional government wrote in the Expressen newspaper, together with Carina Wutzler, mayor of Vellinge, Christian Sonesson, mayor of Staffanstorp, and Anna Jähnke, the councillor in charge of regional development. 

The four politicians, some of the most powerful Moderates in the region, said that when Energy and Business minister Ebba Busch announced the government’s plans to support those facing power high power prices, they had been astonished.

“There were many of us among the Moderates in Skåne who both raised our eyebrows and needed to listen again before we understood that what was being presented was something completely different from what we had been promised,” they wrote. 

“Instead of high-cost protection for the coming winter, what was presented was a system of repayments for the year which has already passed.” 

They wrote that the system announced last week would mainly benefit those on fixed contracts, even though it was people with variable contracts who were facing the biggest problem with prices. In addition, they wrote, the model presented would do nothing to protect businesses in Skåne from the high electricity prices this winter, which they warned risk leading to bankruptcies and unemployment. 

READ ALSO: What do we know about Sweden’s electricity price subsidy? 

“We, together with many other Moderates in Skåne promised people in Skåne that a vote for the Moderates would mean that a system for high cost protection would already be in place this winter,” they conclude. “We expect that our new prime minister and government keep that promise.” 

Ulf Kristersson, Sweden’s prime minister, who himself represents the Moderate Party, said that in his opinion the system announced (which had in fact been ordered by the Social Democrats ahead of the election) was “close enough” to what his party had promised. 

“I think it’s pretty close [to what we promised],” he said, saying that the government had had to alter their plans out of expediency. “It was because we were keen to get something done quickly, which it was possible to do.” 

“I think it’s important that we could keep our promise to, before November 1st, say how we planned to handle retroactively the extremely high prices there have already been.”  

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POLITICS

Swedish PM’s top aide resigns over illegal eel fishing

One of Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson's top aides has resigned from his post after it emerged that he had been fined by police for illegally fishing for eels and had twice lied to the authorities about what happened.

Swedish PM's top aide resigns over illegal eel fishing

PM Nilsson lied twice to police about eel fishing equipment he was caught with, the second time after he was appointed as state secretary at the end of October. 

After the resignation, Kristersson said he was disappointed that Nilsson, who had previously been a columnist for the Dagens Industri newspaper, had had to step down. 

“I think of course that it is unfortunate that this situation has come about, but I understand his decision,” he said in a written comment to the TT newswire. “PM Nilsson has been a highly appreciated member of the team and is a highly competent person. We are going to miss him.” 

READ ALSO: Why a political aide’s eel denial is causing friction in Sweden

Nilsson announced his decision on Facebook, saying that he had already apologised and paid the fines. 

“I understand how improper it is to fish for eels without a permit and to not tell things as they were to the authorities, even if I have since then rung the police and admitted that I had caught 15 fish,” he wrote in the post. 

Nilsson was recently fined for poaching eel in 2021, and has admitted to having lied to police in a conversation just before Christmas when he claimed that the eel-fishing equipment he had been caught with was not his. He later regretted this decision and informed the police.  

In his Facebook post, Nilsson referred to media reports that police were now investigating him for a further crime of contravening a law to protect endangered species, saying he did not know if this were the case. 

The opposition Social Democrats on Monday referred Ulf Kristersson to the parliament’s Committee on the Constitution, requiring him to explain the situation around Nilsson, and about whether Kristersson knew of the poaching incident when he appointed him, and also on the security vetting which took place. 

“We need to get clarity about how the process of recruiting him took place,” Ardalan Shekarabi, the party’s justice spokesman, said. “What we are chiefly reacting against is that the state secretary lied to the authorities.”

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