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Swedish report Swedish report
by Euro Reporter
2011-03-08 10:17:30
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Text messages to replace stamps in Sweden

The Swedish postal service plans to give customers' tongues a rest by allowing them to pay their postage via mobile phone text message instead of stamps. A similar system is set for launch in Denmark on April 1st allowing users to send a text message, prompting a special code to be sent back.
The code is then written down on the letter and serves as proof of the postage having been paid, the Sydsvenskan newspaper reports.

"We're very interested and are just now looking into a solution," Anders Åsberg, heard of marketing and development with Swedish postal service Posten AB. Åsberg added that no date has been set to introduce the service in Sweden, but said it wouldn't be before the summer. The postal services in both Sweden and Denmark are convinced that people will continue to send letters, despite the rise in other forms of communication, and paying postage by mobile phone is seen as a way of making the process easier.

The system under consideration in Sweden would allow users to use codes retrieved via text message for sending letters and parcels weighing up to two kilogrammes. According to Åsberg, the risk of forged codes is no greater than it is with traditional stamps, as both must eventually be read by postal service scanners. He also said there were no plans to raise postal rates in Sweden when the text message postage service is introduced.


Sweden slammed for foreign company hurdles

Sweden has been warned by the European Commission that it is putting too many bureaucratic hurdles in the way of foreign companies that want to set up subsidiaries here. Michel Barnier, the European Commissioner responsible for the EU's internal market, has told the Swedish government that laws that require some European service-sector companies to formally establish branches in Sweden before doing business here, forcing them to file separate accounts, was a breach of the EU's services directive.

In a statement delivered to the Swedish government last month, Barnier also criticized Sweden for requiring foreign service sector companies without a managing director in the country to appoint a Swedish resident as an official representative. The document also gives Sweden a rap over the knuckles for taking up to four months to process the paperwork of foreign companies applying to set up Swedish branch or subsidiary. The Commission argued that two weeks should be ample in most cases.

"The Commission is of the opinion that the registration of a foreign branch should be a simple and automatic process that does not require such a long waiting time, particularly now that electronic processes make it possible to send applications, decisions and documents quickly," Barnier wrote. The criticism marks the latest stage in a long-running disagreement between Sweden and the Commission over the way Sweden regulates the establishment of foreign companies.  Sweden was first warned in 2008 that its legislation violated EU law. It has now been given two months to take the necessary steps to comply with the Commission's demands.


Fewer smoke in Sweden, more men use snuff

The number of smokers in Sweden has dropped while use of moist tobacco, known as snus, appears to be increasing, according to a new study. In 2009, 10.3 per cent of the country's men and women lit up, down one percentage point on 2008, researchers at Stockholm University said.

The survey of Swedish tobacco consumption began in June 2003 and is based on both official sales figures and information from respondents, the Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs (SoRAD) said. The study was based on tobacco purchased in Sweden as well as imported into the country - both legally by private citizens in connection with trips abroad or smuggled in. Smokefree products like snus were also part of the survey. Another highlight from 2009 was that more Swedish men daily used snus than smoked cigarettes. Snus is often packaged in small tea-bag size portions or the user can place a pinch of loose snus under the lip.

The country of 9 million was granted an exemption from a European Union ban on snus when it joined the bloc. According to the report, smokers purchased fewer cigarettes that were smuggled into the country. The drop was some 38 per cent on 2008. Consumption of imported cigarettes also declined, the survey suggested. The estimates were based on information garnered from a random sample of 1,500 people contacted by telephone each month, totalling some 18,000 people a year.

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