Sweden officially joined the European Union on January 1st, 1995. Since that time Sweden is part of the European Union, but it is said to be one of the most Euro-sceptical members of the Union. What are the causes for this strong Swedish Euro-scepticism? It is linked to the special social structure of Sweden, characterized by the well-known universal welfare state, and the Social-Democrat dominated state, linked to the importance of the trade unions in Sweden, as Sweden has approximately 80 percent of Unions' members.
So we can wonder what the consequences of Sweden's entrance in the European Union on the Swedish model were, and focus mainly on its economic aftermath. To what extent can the roots of the Swedish Euro-scepticism be found in the Swedish model? What were the different points of view over the European question in Sweden? Are the doubts over Europe linked to the economic and social results of the European Union membership?
[...] In order to conclude this essay we have seen that the consequences of European Union membership were limited on the Swedish model and especially on the Swedish extensive welfare state system. However the Swedish welfare state had some indirect consequences on the way the Swedish membership of European Union is perceived by the Swedes. There is a strong fear in Sweden that the European Union would force Sweden to diminish it expenses for the welfare state and finally forces Sweden to abandon it. [...]
[...] This was one of the reasons why Sweden decided to join the European Union, because it was believed that the Swedish economy would be more protected and would easily find commercial partners if it was member of an important free trade organization such as the European Union. In 2005 the GDP of Sweden was approximately 348.1 billion dollars, which means around dollars GDP per capita. The growth rate of Sweden in 2005 was 2.7 percent, which was quite good compared to the rest of Europe. [...]
[...] Indeed the Swedish leaders decided not to integrate the European Communities because they thought that the political aim of this new kind of international organization was to important, and thus being part of it would have been taking part to the Western block, in opposition to the Communist block led by the Soviet Union. This policy might have been dangerous because of the geographical closeness of Sweden with the Soviet Union, as we have seen it before. That was the reason why Sweden finally decided to integrate the European Union in the 1990s with the end of the Cold war, even though some people were against this entrance because it would limit Sweden's freedom in international relations. [...]
[...] Indeed as it said on the website of Sagepub on the question of the entrance of Sweden in the European Union, as well as for the referendum on the adhesion of Sweden to the Economic and Monetary Union, the trade unions were divided; the transnational sector unions supported the European Monetary Union and European Union, as LO, and the national production sector union rejected it. Concerning the employers and the Swedish business, they were also divided over the European question, even if most of them were in favour of European integration and Economic and Monetary Union. [...]
[...] Yet it seems that their mind was not followed by the majority of the Swedish citizens, who didn't believe that European integration had good consequences and results for Sweden at the social and economic level. To finish with our study of the debate over the European question in Sweden we can try to see what were and are the Swedish conceptions of Europe and the Swedish paradoxes over Europe. Olof Petersson shows in his chapter about the wait and see policy of Sweden about the Economic and Monetary Union that there is a sociological division on the conceptions the Swedes have about Europe. [...]
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