For members


Booze price hikes and tax deadlines: What changes in Sweden in March?

Alcohol is set to get more expensive and tax declaration season gets under way. Here's more on that and everything else that changes in Sweden in March 2023.

Booze price hikes and tax deadlines: What changes in Sweden in March?
A Systembolaget employee restocks shelves. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

March 9th: Nato talks with Turkey resume

On March 9th, Turkey, Sweden and Finland are set to hold talks to discuss the latter two countries’ applications to join Nato, after Turkey postponed them over Quran-burning protests outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said the third planned meeting will be held in Brussels.

Previous two rounds of the tri-party Nato talks were attended by foreign ministry officials and focused on a specific list of Turkish demands, which include the expulsion of dozens of mostly Kurdish suspects.

“It’s not possible for us to give consent (to a Nato bid) before Sweden fulfils its commitments” under a three-party protocol signed in Madrid in June, Çavuşoğlu said.

March 6th-9th: Hungarian parliament votes on Nato

At some point between March 6th-9th, the Hungarian parliament will vote on Sweden and Finland’s Nato applications, according to the parliamentary agenda published in late February.

The general debate on their membership bids will take place next week, and the votes – for each country separately – will be held from March 6th-9th, the
parliament said on its website.

Turkey and Hungary are the only Nato members still to ratify the bids from both Nordic countries, which must be accepted by all 30 existing members of the military organisation.

Hungary’s president, Viktor Orbán, has said that while he personally supports Swedish and Finnish accession to Nato, many MPs in his Fidesz party are worried because of the way the two countries “spread lies about us”.

“We need to have an exchange of words with the Swedes and Finns, because it doesn’t work if these countries are spreading outright lies about us,” he said in February.

Hungary, he said, as a country that was dominated by Russia for decades, had a “moral obligation” to back the bid of the Nordic countries.

March 1st: Lynx cull starts

Sweden’s lynx cull will start on March 1st, running until March 31st or April 15th depending on the county.

The exact number of lynx which may be shot in each Swedish county varies, from 0 in some counties to 32 in Kalmar. A maximum of 201 lynx may be killed.

There are around 1,443 lynx in Sweden, according to the most recent national estimates, and they are protected, meaning that they can only be hunted under strictly controlled circumstances.

The aim of the cull is to regulate the population.

March 26th: Clocks go forward

Daylight saving time starts in Sweden on March 26th, so the clocks will go forward at 2am on the 26th, meaning an hour less in bed. Many digital clocks (like the one on your phone) change automatically, but it’s a good idea to make sure you’re working to the same time as everyone else before your alarm goes off for work on Monday morning.

March 7th: Most should have received energy price subsidy

The first Swedish households eligible for Sweden’s energy price subsidy began receiving their payments on February 23rd, but payments won’t be complete until March 7th for those who registered their accounts with Swedbank or the Social Insurance Agency in time.

Those who are eligible for the subsidy but do not have account numbers registered in the Social Insurance Agency’s or Swedbank’s payment system will instead be sent a payment voucher (“utbetalningsavi“) at some point in March.

March 6th: Tax declarations

Depending on whether you have a digital postbox or not, you should receive your tax declaration at some point between March 6th and March 10th.

If you have a digital postbox (or sign up for one by March 5th), you will receive your declaration digitally between March 6th-10th. The declaration page will then open on March 14th for you to make any changes (although you can log in and read your declaration on March 10th if you have e-ID such as BankID).

If you do not have a digital postbox, you should receive your declaration between March 15th-April 15th.

You will then need to approve your declaration by March 30th if you want to receive any tax rebate you’re due in April. However, this only applies if you approve digitally and make no changes or additions.

Prices increase at Systembolaget

Systembolaget, Sweden’s state-run alcohol monopoly, raises its prices twice a year, in September and March.

Despite high inflation this year, prices on alcohol are only rising by a few percent, by 3 percent on average once tax is included.

Price increases at Systembolaget, which does not aim to earn a profit, are dependent entirely on suppliers’ price changes, CEO of Systembolaget Ann Carlsson Meyer told the TT newswire.

Meyer believes that the smaller than expected increase in prices is due in part to suppliers holding off on raising their prices due to a fear of losing customers.

Here are the price increases for each type of drink, not including tax:

Wine: up 2.6 percent

Spirits: up 1.7 percent

Beer: up 3.1 percent

Cider/mixed drinks: up 3.0 percent

Alcohol free: up 1.7 percent

Total: up 2.6 percent

For reference, inflation stood at around 12 percent at the beginning of the year.

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For members


What changes in Sweden in June 2023?

A key interest rate announcement, potential Nato news, further price cuts on food and much more. Here's what's in store for Sweden in June 2023.

What changes in Sweden in June 2023?

June 29th: New key interest rate announcement

Arguably the biggest event to keep an eye on in what is usually a relatively sleepy month in Sweden is the Riksbank’s next key interest rate announcement on June 29th.

Despite inflation dropping more than expected in April, most analysts are still predicting the Riksbank will raise the so-called repo rate in June by 0.25 percentage points to a total of 3.75 percent, after which they will remain the same until they begin to drop next year.

This is of course by no means certain – the last year has taught us that anything can happen – and some analysts are also predicting a further 0.25 percentage point hike in September before the peak is reached.

June 14th: Inflation figures for May released

Another event in the calendar which may affect whether key interest rates are raised or not is inflation figures for May, which will be released on June 14th.

If these figures show that inflation dropped in May, it’s more likely that the Riksbank will choose to raise the repo rate in June by 0.25 percentage points rather than 0.5, or indeed that the bank will skip a rate hike in June entirely and raise rates in September instead.

If, on the other hand, these figures show that inflation rose in May, we can expect the Riksbank to respond by raising the rate more harshly.

June 16th: Government holds national climate summit

On June 16th, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, Energy and Business Minister Ebba Busch and Climate and Environment Minister Romina Pourmokhtari will host a national climate summit in Stockholm for business, civil society, interest organisations and academia, in order to create a plan for how different sectors can adapt to meet Sweden’s climate goals.

Mid-June: School holidays and start of student period

Summer holidays start in most of Sweden’s schools around mid-June. You can also expect Sweden to be a bit louder this month, especially if you live in an urban area near a gymnasium school.

Students finishing upper high school (gymnasium) will springa ut starting in early June, a tradition where newly-graduated students run out of school after getting their final exam results to cheers from friends and family, after which they will drive around in a car or on the back of a van with friends and party for the rest of the evening.

Planning a trip to or within Sweden this summer? Here’s our guide running through what to expect, covering everything from the weather forecast to any potential travel disruptions.

June 9th: Energy price subsidy payouts

Energy price subsidies covering usage in November and December last year across Sweden will be paid out from the end of May, with most households receiving payouts by June 9th at the latest.

If your bank account was registered in Swedbank’s account register by May 10th, you will get your payout by June 9th. If you already registered your bank account to receive the last batch of energy price subsidies in February, you don’t need to register again.

If you already have a bank account registered with the Social Insurance Agency or the Pensions Agency for VAB pay, pension payments or sick pay, for example, you don’t need to register and your payment will be sent to this account.

If you didn’t register in time, you can still register now that the deadline is passed, although your payment may arrive after June 9th. If you don’t register at all, you will still get the payment, in the form of a deposit voucher which you will need to redeem at a bank or post office.

June 1st: Mikael Ribbenvik steps down as head of Migration Agency

Director-general of the Migration Agency, Mikael Ribbenvik, will step down from his role and leave the agency he has worked at for 24 years when his contract ends at the end of May.

From June 1st, his current deputy Inga Thoresson Hallgren will take over as an interim director-general until the government appoints Ribbenvik’s successor.

After Sweden’s government announced in April that Ribbenvik’s contract was not going to be extended, Björn Söder, a Sweden Democrat MP and member of the parliament’s defence committee, celebrated the decision.

“Time to tidy up Swedish public agencies,” Söder wrote on Twitter. “Kick the asylum activists out of the agency.”

This indicates that the government and the far-right Sweden Democrats may be looking to turn over a new leaf by choosing a candidate who is less associated with migration policy under the former centre-left Social Democrat government.

June 1st: Lidl to cut prices on more items

Low-price chain Lidl was the first to initiate a price freeze across Swedish supermarkets in March, after its decision not to raise prices on over a hundred items sparked Ica and Coop to do the same shortly after.

It has now announced that the price freeze will continue until “at least the end of June”, and it will cut prices on around 50 further items from June 1st.

June: Nato news

June may also bring a long-awaited Nato update as Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was reelected at the end of May.

Sweden’s new anti-terror laws designed to placate Turkey by cracking down on members of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) will also come into force on June 1st, and an informal meeting will take place in Oslo between all Nato countries – including Sweden as an invitee – on the same date.

It still looks unlikely that Sweden’s application will be approved in June, but we could see some movement after the relatively slow progress of recent weeks.

June 30th: Swedish presidency of EU council ends

Sweden’s six-month presidency of the EU council will end on June 30th, after which Spain will take over the presidency until the end of the year.

June 6th: National Day

Another important date in the Swedish calendar this month is Sweden’s National Day on June 6th. It has been a public holiday since 2005, replacing Whit Monday, but was first celebrated in 1916 in honour of the election of King Gustav Vasa on June 6th, 1523. 

This year, National Day will mark 500 years since the election of Gustav Vasa, as well as 50 years since Sweden’s current king Carl XVI Gustaf ascended to the throne. 

Gustav Vasa’s election also marks the end of the Danish-ruled Kalmar Union, so is arguably a marking of Swedish independence, although it occurred so long ago that few Swedes associate National Day with this aspect of Swedish history.

Many Swedes will have booked June 5th off in order to have a four-day weekend, so don’t be surprised if your workplace is emptier than usual the day before National Day.

You may also be able to buy a nationaldagsbakelse or National Day pastry in many bakeries on June 6th, a small almond cake topped with strawberries and a Swedish flag.