A seat on the UN Security Council
In an exciting vote that was well above the required two-thirds majority, Sweden won a seat on the UN Security Council. At the United Nations headquarters in New York on June 28, the 193-member UN voted for Sweden, together with Ethiopia, Bolivia and Kazahkstan for the open seats for the 2017-18 term with begins Jan. 1, 2017. These are the non-permanent seats in the UN Security Council which includes 15 member countries, five of which are permanent: China, France, Russia, UK and USA. The last time Sweden was a member of the Security Council was 20 years ago in 1997-1998; it also served 1975-1976 and 1957-1958. Sweden will promote international peace and security as well as the Swedish view on democracy, human rights, gender equality and development.

Sweden paves the way for electric highways
A two-kilometer test stretch for electric vehicles, in an environmentally conscious move toward the country’s goal of being fossil fuel-free by 2030, was opened on June 23. Along E16 in Sandviken, electric vehicles can connect to an overhead system similar to light rail. The newly installed wiring above the highway’s eastbound slow lane looks like the cables of electric trolleys, but the wiring is for trucks that want to connect for any period of time to the power lines. The project manager, Magnus Ernström, described the electric lane as a “flexible railroad” with cables extended for two kilometers, and authorities hope to soon extend them to cover 200 kilometers of road. Trucks fitted with an intelligent connector, called a pantograph, can connect and disconnect seamlessly from the cables at speeds of 90 kilometers an hour, allowing trucks to pass in other lanes and continue operating normally on non-electrified roads. The system is expected to cut energy use in half.

Brexit affects Swedish citizenship
In the wake of Brexit, Sweden has seen a marked uptick in the number of Brits applying for Swedish citizenship. Sweden’s Migration Agency said 129 Brits filed for citizenship (compared to a weekly average of around 20) since the June 23 vote in Britain to exit the EU. The Brits who are already living in Sweden are keeping tabs on what’s next: If they’ve been living there for more than five years, they can apply for citizenship and stay in Sweden; that’s true for Brits who have a Swedish partner with children in Sweden as well. If they’ve been in Sweden fewer than five year and are working, they can apply for a work visa, but they need to leave the country until their visa arrives (which can take up to 5 months). Brits are encouraged to watch for updates as this unprecedented transition process evolves.