April 25, 2024

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As inflation soars, Sweden warns EU of reinventing poverty

As inflation soars, Sweden warns EU of reinventing poverty

STOCKHOLM.- It’s only six o’clock in the morning, but Stockholm Station already exists Dozens of homeless people Some queue up for cinnamon buns and a cup of coffee.

Aid societies ensure that An unprecedented arrival In one country, one struck Record inflationSee how After years of rising inequality, the symptoms of poverty are compounded.

“As you can see, a lot of people have come for breakfast,” explains Kavian Ferdowsi, who is in charge of this free food distribution.

“In the 13 years I’ve been in charge of this association for the homeless, I’ve never seen so many people, I see so many people looking for a little help,” he told AFP.

Food prices in Sweden are now rising by 20% year-on-year, following a spike in electricity prices at the start of winter.Jonathan Knockstrand – AFP

The The inflationary effects of the war in Ukraine and the increase in interest rates Inundate and return many indebted families The Swedish economy is one of the most worrying in Europe.

After the hike in electricity prices at the beginning of winter, food prices are now on the rise 20% increase year on yearSomething unprecedented since the 1950s.

The government announced next Wednesday Meeting with Sweden’s three biggest supermarket chains to tell them the unfair increase is “unacceptable”.

After reaching 12.3% in December, inflation has barely slowed despite a brutal hike in interest rates set by the central bank. It dipped a bit in January, but has bounced back It will rise to 12% in FebruaryAccording to figures released on Wednesday.

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“The first wave of inflation involved only energy prices and some imported goods. But now spread throughout the economyAnnika Alexius, an economist at Stockholm University, says:

Low-income families are hardest hit, but so is the middle classLocated between Europe is heavily indebted and faces a sharp rise in mortgage paymentsHe says.

At a Red Cross shop in the Swedish capital, they offer discounted items that are not sold in supermarkets.

Photo taken on March 14, 2023 shows a Red Cross branch where people can buy food at discounted prices in Stockholm, Sweden. Jonathan Knockstrand – AFP

Marion Orberg, 73, retires twice a week. In his basket for the day he carries a bunch of radishes and a few pieces of bread. The woman assures that she is not one of the most affected, but she wants to take care of her finances.

People have changed their eating habits. Eat differently to balance the accounts and efforts like this are highly commendable”, says this retired judge.

Those in charge of the Red Cross have observed that a Changing profiles between people visiting your campus.

“Before, we basically looked at marginalized people. Now this has changed. They are children, elderly people or families on medical leave. Everyone has trouble making ends meet”, his general secretary in Sweden, Martin Ornlov, tells AFP.

Among low-income single-parent families, nearly one in eight say they have problems To feed their children and suffer from hungerAccording to a survey commissioned by the organization.

Sweden has long been considered one of the most equal countries in the world, but Inequality has risen over the past three decades. Various reforms to balance public accounts turned the Scandinavian country into one of Europe’s best economies, but at the cost of weakening many people.

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According to the Office for National Statistics, Almost 15% of Swedes are at risk of poverty. It indicates that there is Below 60% of median incomeThat’s about 33,200 kroner (about $3,100) per month.

A woman prepares food donated by local supermarkets to sell at reduced prices at a Red Cross branch in Stockholm, Sweden on March 14, 2023. Jonathan Knockstrand – AFP

According to recent estimates by the European Commission, Sweden is the only country in the EU to experience recession in 2023.

Its currency, the crown, has been hurt by the foreign exchange market, while calls are mounting to strengthen social assistance in a country where the welfare state is a safety cushion.

But for economist Annika Alexius, her country’s situation might It will foreshadow a tough year for the entire continent. “Let’s say we are a bit ahead of other European countries in this recession. Other European countries will also face a dire situation,” he says.

AFP Agency

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