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Swedes' support for EU increases but not for the single currency euro


   political-economy




Tuesday, 17 May 2011
Support for the EU in Sweden continues to increase. A majority of Swedes would love to see Sweden remain member of the EU, but support for the European single currency, the euro has fallen sharply.

According to new figures from a recent research by the SOM Institute at Gothenburg university, presented to the Swedish Institute for European policy studies (SIEPS) for analysis today Tuesday, it shows that the recent economic crisis that has swept some major EU countries leading to major bail outs has had no negative impact on the Swedish public opinion about the EU. The proportion of positives to a Swedish EU membership has instead continued to increase.

During the last five years, the share of EU membership has increased steadily from 39 percent in 2005 to a record figure in 2010 of 53 percent. For a second consecutive year, more Swedes believed in a Swedish EU membership.

“It can be partly explained by the fact that we are not in the euro and that we also survived the economic crisis, without negatively affecting unemployment and other things in Sweden, "said Soren Holmberg, a professor of political science, who authored the analysis.

When Sweden joined the EU in 1995, there were several issues that the Swedes were afraid would happen and which will affect Sweden negatively. These concerns are no longer there, according to Soren Holmberg.

“Swedes become more positive about the EU in terms of law enforcement. For the environment we are also positive and we believe more today than in the past that pollution will be tackled at EU level rather than at the Swedish regional level.”

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But the economy is the single most important factor that makes the Swede leaning more towards Europe. Given its larger engineering sector and heavy reliance on the EU wide for its market, most Swedes believe that the EU project has been good for business so far.

“We are very linked to the economy in our assessment of the EU. When we perceive that the EU can help us, we are keen on the EU. When we understand that the EU rather can derail us then we are fond of Sweden and the Krona than in Europe, "said Soren Holmberg.

This phenomenon can be seen in the declining support for the euro in Sweden which in 2010 that support collapsed. Last year saw the number of Swedes who were positive for the euro grew but when the crisis erupted, negative support for the euro in Sweden grew to it highest level ever.

It is worth noting that the increased support for the EU does reflect areas where the Swedes are so positive – especially on individual issues. But in areas where there is still a lot of scepticism, the euro is the most obvious example.

Other areas of low support in Sweden are things like - fewer Swedes think that Sweden should participate in the defence cooperation within the EU, 39 percent are now in favour, while 45 percent were for 2008.

The support for developing the EU into a United States of Europe is also much lower than the proportions that are in favour of EU membership. The real concern is that the Swedes have accepted a Swedish EU membership - that it should remain as it is and nothing further.
By Scancomark.se Team


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