This paper explores the causes of the rapid growth of Sweden Democrats, the extreme rightist party in Sweden, after it entered into the Risdag in 2006 for the first time. While Sweden Democrats proclaimed anti-immigration party as a main party principle from 1988 when it started, it failed to get sufficient votes for the seats in the Risdag. However, it succeeded in entering into the Risdag under the hostile reaction from the existing parties in 2010 under the condition of the high level of voters’ distrust of the existing political parties. It could expand its social base to be the third largest party in the Risdag in 2014 in the crisis of migration in Europe. Unlike neo-liberal rightist parties, it mobilized the fear of the working class and getting large supports from it by invoking anti-immigration and proclaiming welfare chauvinism.
The centre-right government of Finland is launching a basic income experiment in which randomly selected 2,000 citizens on unemployment benefits will receive a monthly basic income of 560 euros from January 2017 for two years. That basic income will replace their existing unemployment benefits. The aim of the experiment is to assess whether basic income can help reduce poverty and bureaucracy, while increasing the employment rate. The Finnish basic income experiment is referred to as a step by step reform of the welfare state as citizens are entitled to a minimum level of income support that is the almost same as 560 euro basic income. However, the reform is to reduce benefits since low income families can receive multiple social benefits which is usually much more than 560 euros. Therefore, under the circumstances of austerity policy and labor shortage in certain low-wage sector, the basic income seems to be ‘conditional’ rather than ‘unconditional’ and could lead to ‘enforced’ employment. The basic income is seen as an additional element to the Finnish universal social security system. And the experiment can provide insights on whether the removal of the disincentives embedded in social security will encourage the unemployed to return to jobs or not. The results of the experiment will become a hot issue in parliamentary elections in April 2019 and the future of basic income in Finland will depend on election results and its political power relations.
This paper looks at the recent debate regarding teaching the Swedish language to immigrants (SFI) in Sweden, reviewing recent articles in this area. Teaching Swedish to immigrants is seen as a key to integration and it is therefore important that it is effective and achieves its goal. However, there has been widespread criticism in terms of the results it achieves. Especially, many students interrupt their studies before they complete the highest course level. In 2010, a performance-based financial compensation system was introduced in order to make the students complete the courses quicker. As seen in many evaluation reports, this way of aiming at increasing the students’ instrumental motivation has been inefficient, and the compensation system was eventually abolished. Although many factors for improvements are present in the discourse, when reviewing a number of articles it is striking that the most important factor for learning – integrative motivation – receives little attention. In order to improve SFI and the immigrants’ language learning, there needs to be more research on the individuals’ needs and their integrative motivation.