Future work in Brussels for Bildt? Stieg Larsson praised in Spain. The ban on 'the bump' (snus, in plain Swedish, these days also English). Electric cars – not too popular. Husmanskost.
Future work in Brussels for Bildt?
Maybe not so likely. Swedish television reports that Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt may not be a likely candidate for higher office at the European Commission. Swedish TV news broadcast Rapport
recently conducted several interviews with key people in Brussels who were less than enthusiastic - http://svt.se/2.88982/1.1694591/bildt_omojlig_som_eu-kommissionar
Stieg Larsson praised in Spain.
Swedish author Stieg Larsson (1954-2004) was honored posthumously for his efforts against violence aimed at women. “It’s very positive that one looks at the ‘Millenium’ trilogy as not just fiction,” his partner Eva Gabrielsson said. Larsson receives the prize from an organization against violence towards women, it consists of a lithography and will be handed out in the presence of some of Spain’s most important politicians. Gabrielsson will receive it. “It is great the kind of attention Stieg is getting for something that was very dear to his heart but with which he didn’t work much officially: the discrimination of women and the love for women.” At his death, Larsson left the manuscript of three completed but unpublished novels in a series (the Millenium trilogy). He wrote them for his own pleasure after returning home from his job in the evening, making no attempt to get them published until shortly before his death of a myocardial infarction in 2004. The trilogy is published in English and consists of the novels: “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played With Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest”.
The ban on 'the bump'
It’s the bump that satisfies and now, Sweden is fighting to get a European-wide ban lifted on 'snus,' the moist-tobacco product many Swedes and a growing number of Americans enjoy instead of smoking.
While cigarette sales have tumbled by 50 percent in Sweden over the past 30 years, snus is on the up, with sales rising from some 2,500 tons a year in the 1970s to almost 7,500 tons in 2008.
It is also popular in other parts of the Nordic region.
In Norway, outside of the EU, some 400,000 people use it on a regular basis while 100,000 Finns travel to Sweden to stock up, official data shows.
Sweden is the only EU member state where sales are permitted after it obtained an exemption when the European Union banned snus in 1992. With many member states also banning smoking in public places, tobacco industry giants are looking to tap into this potentially lucrative market. Swedish Match, the number one snus manufacturer in the Nordic country, reported sales of 660 million euros ($965 million) in Sweden in 2008.
The snus ban could be set for review in 2010 and Swedish Match's head of public affairs, Patrick Hildingsson, said that would provide "a window of opportunity" to make their case for legalization elsewhere.
In February, Philip Morris International set up a joint venture with Swedish Match and last year British American Tobacco snapped up Sweden's second-biggest cigarette maker, Fiedler & Lundgren.
"We want to expand our business and it goes well along with the new smoking regulations," said Hildingsson.
While snus has started to be gradually rolled out in the United States, South Africa and Canada, the ban remains in place across Europe.
In its role at the helm of the EU presidency, Sweden is in prime position to make its case and Stockholm has intensified talks with the European Commission and other member states on the subject.
"As the presidency, you're not supposed to put things on the agenda that can be seen as national priorities ... But on the other hand, we cannot rule out that this issue will come up in some form during other discussions," said Swedish Trade Minister Ewa Bjorling.
She said the EU allows the sale of other forms of "oral" tobacco and said her country has one of the lowest rates of smoking.
Still, Sweden and the snus makers must battle Brussels to get their product to market as health experts warn consuming tobacco in this way is dangerous and highly addictive.
"There are strong suspicions that mouth and pancreatic cancers and also cardiovascular disease increase for people that use snus," said Anders Ahlbom, a professor at Sweden's Karolinska Institute.
"We've managed to save 400 million Europeans from snus. Why bring it in just because the tobacco industry wants to?" he asked.
Sweden's Institute for Public Health published a report in May arguing there was "strong scientific proof that (snus) has negative effects on health."
Electric cars – not too popular.
At least not with Swedes. Only one Swede in ten is interested in buying an electric car. Many people think the future of the automobile business is the electric car, but the knowledge of how the electric car works is fairly limited among Swedes. Most believe it is expensive and that you need certain sticks for charging. “These are not real obstacles,” says Göran Lundgren, head of business development at Vattenfall who pushes for the electric car. “An electric car can be charged at a regular outlet at home or at a parking lot.” And it’s not expensive either. “A pure electric car costs around two to three crowns (29-43 cents) per mile,” Lundgren says. It is this limited knowledge, Lundgren believes, that makes people wary of electric cars.
Swedish cuisine tends to be practical and sustaining. Historically in the far north, meat such as reindeer and other game dishes were eaten, which have their roots among the Sami people, while fresh vegetables played a larger role in the south. For us today, husmanskost
, the every day cuisine, is a part of being Swedish. What is husmanskost to you? Is it dillkött? Is it kroppkakor? Or perhaps sjömansbiff? Whatever it is, why not try to make some for dinner in the weeks to come? This type of food is usually on the heavy side, which fits the darker, colder season we’re entering. Here’s a recipe for rårakor med romröra (potato pancakes with caviar or roe condiment).
Ingredients for the potato pancakes:
6 potatoes, 0.5 teaspoon salt, a pinch of black pepper, 1 Tablespoon butter. Ingredients for the romröra:
1 scallion, 0.5 cup sour cream, and 50 g of stenbitsrom (which you can substitute with the caviar or roe of your choice). For sides: 1 boiled egg, cut in half.
Cut the scallion in thin slices and mix it with the sour cream and the caviar. Peel and grate the potatoes using the coarse side of the grater. Mix in the salt and pepper. Put a bit of it at a time in a pan with some butter, and make it thin like a pancake. Fry about two minutes on both sides. Serve with the caviar mix and the halved egg. Makes two portions.