Top Green in EU drop-out rethink

David Landes
David Landes - [email protected] • 27 Feb, 2008 Updated Wed 27 Feb 2008 13:24 CEST
Top Green in EU drop-out rethink

Green Party spokesperson Maria Wetterstrand has reversed her opinion and no longer believes Sweden should quit the EU.


Gradually she has come to realize that she can no longer support the party line that Sweden should leave the EU and that the EU should disband.

"I still believe there are relevant grounds to be against it, but ultimately I think that the pros outweigh the cons," said Wetterstrand to news agency TT.

The EU’s climate work and enlargement have contributed to her change of heart.

"The EU is addressing these issues in an entirely different way than they have previously—with a sense of urgency. The EU has the tools and is now ready to use them," she said.

Wetterstrand explains how spending six months on parental leave in Finland gave her time to think and test arguments for and against EU membership.

She believes that other environmentalists have also begun to see that the EU has made great strides in its handling of environmental issues.

Wetterstrand also believes that expansion has also made it harder to criticize the EU for being a rich-man’s club

"There is a big difference between an EU with 27 countries and one that consists of 15 of the world’s richest countries," she said.

A large union also makes it impossible for too great a centralization of power, according to Wetterstrand.

She has informed the party’s governing board of her new position and detailed her case in the party’s newspaper, which was distributed to members on Wednesday.

She is far from sure that her opinion will win over her colleagues at the party’s congress in late May.

There have been similar motions previously, but past congresses have always held the "no to the EU" line. Such was the case at the recent annual meeting of the party’s youth wing.

Wetterstrand doesn’t see any problems with continuing as party spokesperson if the no-side wins again.

"No, everyone will know where I stand and I can’t defend an opinion that I don’t have. But it's possible to be a good Green Party member irrespective of where one stands on the EU question," she said.

Wetterstrand still believes that there ought to be a referendum on the EU’s new treaty; remains against Swedish participation in the euro; says no to military alliances; and would like to see Sweden leave the Schengen-area.

According to Wetterstrand, saying yes to the EU means sharpening one’s criticism of it.


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