EU criticizes Sweden
The EU commission is criticizing Sweden, demanding the country live up to the directive that will make it easier for EU citizens and their family members to travel freely to the country. Sweden has, among other things, tighter regulations as to what constitutes a “family member” than what the EU directives state. According to the commission, Sweden has on 11 points either only partly or wrongly reinforced those rules. Also according to the commission, EU citizens from other countries are in many cases being treated as though they come from countries outside of the EU.

White strawberries for allergy sufferers
For those who can't eat strawberries because of allergies, there's some great news. You don't have to abstain from a lovely dessert made with the popular berry: There’s a white strawberry that even you can eat. Popular gardening expert Åke Truedsson (a chemical engineer by trade but also chairman of Riksförbundet Svensk Trädgård (the Swedish Horticultural Society) has managed to grow white strawberries. “I do this for allergy sufferers. I believe it’s a human right to be able to eat strawberries,” he says. Truedsson has written books about plant breeding and has participated in several gardening programs on television. In his own garden he grows both white strawberries and white wild strawberries. Early on he suspected it was the red color in the strawberries that caused allergies, since it carries a protein known to be an allergen. “I did some research and found naturally white strawberries in the U.S. and in Romania. They were not very good plants; they grew small berries, but I mixed them with Swedish strawberries and have cultivated a berry called Bianca, which tastes just like a normal, sweet Swedish strawberry. However, the white strawberries are sensitive and shouldn’t be stored. The ones I have end up in gardening schools, they are for the gardener or maybe to be picked.” Thus, not to be sold in stores.

Swedish diplomat dead
Swedish diplomat Sverker Astrom has passed away at age 96. He served as ambassador to the UN in the 1960's and was also Sweden's ambassador in Paris and worked as secretary of the cabinet for the foreign ministry. Sverker Åström was born in 1915 and began working at the foreign ministry in 1939. Later, as a close colleague of Östen Undén, Dag Hammarskjöld and Olof Palme, Åström had a big influence on Swedish foreign policy in the post-war period. At a meeting in Luxembourg, foreign minister Carl Bildt praised the late Åström for his leading role in formulating Sweden's foreign policy doctrine during Sweden’s "era of neutrality." "He was extraordinarily significant," said Bildt. "Neutrality is a doctrine that we've since put behind us, but it served Sweden well during a not uncomplicated phase of European history," Bildt said during a meeting in Luxembourg. On a personal note, Åström revealed his homosexuality in his late 80s, and became something of a role model in the gay community.

Record rains bring bigger blueberries
The incessant rains in Sweden during the month of June bring with them at least one piece of good news: Big blueberries. “Rain is actually good,” says Ola Langvall, a berry expert at Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences). “The blueberries are still not ripe and while the grow they need water. When it’s too dry, they never really get big, but remain small and you can’t pick them.”

No sauna for Prince Carl Philip
Prince Carl Philip asked to be granted exemption from "strandskydd" (beach protection, which is regulated by law) in order to build himself a sauna on his property Ökenäs on the east coast. But there will be no sauna for the prince. Länsstyrelsen (the County Administrative Board) says no. Carl Philip inherited Ökenäs from former naval officer Bertil Jonsén five years ago, and he decided to replace an old shed with a new one, one that would include a sauna. At first he got green light to go ahead, but Naturskyddsföreningen (The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation) and the local organization Strandskyddarna appealed against the decision, as they felt the building would prevent the general public from moving freely in the area. The County Board has come to the conclusion that there are insufficient grounds for granting an exemption from the beach protection.