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Swedish Government Proposes Giant $1.5Bn Relief Package Amid Record Energy Prices

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Power line - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.03.2022
In recent months, fuel and electricity prices in Sweden have reached historical highs, with inflation on foods and consumer goods galloping as well. Finance Minister Damberg ascribed this to Russia's special operation in Ukraine, which unleashed a cascade of sanctions targeting all spheres of life.
The Swedish government has proposed a support package of SEK 14 billion (roughly $1.5 billion) to compensate Swedish households for the record high prices for petrol and diesel.
Among other things, the fuel tax on petrol and diesel will be temporarily reduced between June and October and each car owner will receive SEK 1,000 ($104). For car owners who live in sparsely populated and rural areas, the one-off support can reach SEK 1,500 ($156). The plan is for the compensation to be paid out automatically.
“This is a powerful package of measures in both the short and long term”, Finance Minister Mikael Damberg said at a press conference.
During the winter, fuel and electricity prices in Sweden reached a historical high, with inflation on foods and consumer goods reaching levels unseen in decades as well.
Damberg pinned the long-term price hikes on “Russia's actions” and ventured that the record energy prices are due to Russia's special operation to 'demilitarise and de-Nazify' Ukraine, which he portrayed as “invasion”, despite Moscow repudiating any occupation plans. The West replied with obliterating sanctions targeting all spheres of life from finance to tech, with the EU vowing to curtail its dependence on Russian energy.
As per Damberg, this will affect Sweden for a long time, but the government must do what it can to help people financially.
“My message to the Swedish people is that this will be an ordeal. And I want to be clear again that it is not possible to fully compensate for all price increases. Uncertainty will be felt in our everyday lives in several ways, we will do what we can to alleviate this. We will carry this together. Our strength is our ability to gather in tough times. Just like we did during the COVID-19 pandemic”, Damberg said, as quoted by national broadcaster SVT.
The finance minister emphasised specifically that the subsidies won't have any negative consequences for the climate and pointed out that the package contains an increased allocation of SEK 3.9 billion ($410 million) in climate bonuses for those who buy electric cars.
Previously, Sweden earmarked some SEK 6 billion ($670 million) for a temporary scheme to help the most affected households across the Scandinavian country to cope with soaring electricity bills in in the most populous part of the country, which is home to the majority of Swedes amid a cold spell, increased demand, and an overall gas price surge across entire Europe. A total of 1.8 million affected households with energy consumption above designated level were entitled to compensation worth some SEK 2,000 ($220) during the winter months, with the authorities calling the situation “exceptional”.
Sweden's Nordic peers Norway and Denmark, too, introduced broad electricity subsidies for households in a pinch, spending billions of kroner. Record-high global gas prices prompted governments across entire Europe to funnel billions of euros into efforts to shield consumers and announce relief measures.
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