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In Sweden we have a system for setting wages through collective bargaining. This is part of what I work with.

Today is the last day the collective agreements (CA) are valid, and we needed the negotiations to finish before midnight. Luckily we did!

The new CA is valid for one year, and gives wage increases of 2%.

 

Most Swedish media was represented at the press conference

  

Representatives from the employers organisations

 

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I’m not worried for our own sake, but I find it worrying what’s happening in regards to international adoptions in Kenya. Poor, poor parents.

If you don’t know what I’m on about I’m referring to last week’s news when three Scandinavian families in Kenya adopting children (when adopting from Kenya you have to spend 9-12 months with the child in the country) had their adoptive children taken from them. Live, on Kenyan tv. The police just showed up, with national tv in tow, without any warning and fetched the children – after seven months!

I can’t even begin to imagine the horror they’re living through.

The reason is that people have stepped forward, claiming to be the childrens’ relatives, and if this is true – of course the children should be returned to them, but how can that even be? What the heck kind of security systems do the Kenyan govt have in place, if there’s even a risk that children can have been taken from their families and relatives against their will to begin with?! The children are adopted from an orphanage!

I really hope these small families aren’t just a being used for political purposes, that they are just pawns in a bigger scheme.

Again – poor, poor parents 😦

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I’m spending the next two nights at a hotel in Malmö, a town I called home some 15 years ago.

I’m here with work, participating in Tillväxtdagarna, a gathering of many of the country’s “elite” – politicians, commercial leaders etc. Last year’s event was fantastic, and I hope this year will be just as great!

Right now I’m in bed, winding down, reading a book about Putin, “The Man Without a Face”, and watching footy.

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The wedding preparations are going slow, but I think we’re getting an idea of what we want. More on that later, now – sleep!

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I’m listening to the Prime Minister’s speech in Almedalen, the Swedish politicians week. He’s pretty funny actually, seems relaxed and at ease – great to see 🙂

Jesse Jackson is here, not sure why, but he’s here. One of the tabloids screamed out that he thinks SD, the Swedish Democrats – a somewhat racist party, is crap. Well, that’s real surprising…not!

Anyway, this is awesome – this week is incredible, fascinating and genuinely Swedish. It makes me proud.

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Today we had lunch at the terrace of the Royal Dramatic Theater, very posh indeed, from where you either have a view of one of the many Stockholm bays and harbours, or up one of the main shopping streets, including NK, the Nordic Company – probably Sweden’s most fashionable department store. I was a  bit bummed about not getting to sit watching the water (after all, I have been in London for four days – I miss my water!), but that all changed when I saw this:

USA backwards

NK has a long row of flag poles along the front, all with international flags, so imagine my surprise when I saw that the American flag was put up backwards! I laughed out loud, but can’t help but wonder if maybe it was intentional?! I’d decided I’d call their information counter when I got back to the office, but as we were leaving the flag went down and came back up again – this time facing the right way! Too funny!!!

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Taking on the challenge

Taking on the challenge

Yesterday, the Swedish Presidency of the EU was launched. Now Sweden is in the driving seat of the world’s largest integrated economy with nearly half a billion citizens. “It’s going to be a very exciting six months, but the task before us is not an easy one. I’m looking forward to tackling the autumn’s challenges together,” said our Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt yesterday.

It’s fantastic – what a wonderful chance for Sweden to actually make a difference, not only in Europe, but also the world! Of course the climate is the most important question to deal with, what with the conference in Copenhagen in December. The dream is to get a new climate agreement in place, one that will replace the Kyoto protocol.

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Below you can see the result of the Swedish votes for the European Parliament. The “sensation of the day” is of course the success of the Pirate Party (PP) whose main objective is to work for integrity online (-ish), but the fact (luckily) remains that the “blue” block has a majority of the votes, over the “red” block. My good mate Red Raz mentioned something about “winning” today, but fortunately he had it wrong. Again. Some 43% voted which really is a pathetic result, but still an increase by 6 % since the last election in 2004.

The result of the Swedish votes

The result of the Swedish votes

A sigh of relief though over the fact that the Swedish Democrats stopped at 3,6% and didn’t get a seat, but worrying that they gained so many more votes in this election 😦

DN, SvD

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