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Swedish Euroscepticism: Democracy, Sovereignty and Welfare

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Abstract:

In 1995 Sweden joined the European Union in the face of considerable national opposition. Since entry Euroscepticism appears to have been reinforced, with many Swedes claiming that Brussels is meddling with internal affairs and declaring themselves against the euro. Drawing on interviews with various Swedish public figures, this article shows that Swedish Euroscepticism is largely of a cultural nature and based on perceptions of national superiority, especially in the fields of gender equality, protection of the environment and control of alcohol abuse. It is widely thought that things are better in Sweden and that the 'cultural flow' from Brussels should be stemmed or even counteracted by a crosscurrent of 'Nordic' values. Over time, these perceptions of superiority will, however, almost certainly diminish, as increasing transnational contacts moderate the forces of isolationism. Originally quite determined to protect Sweden's 'Nordic' values, the Swedish Prime Minister, Göran Persson, recently declared that these are in fact part of a European 'family of values'.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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