Swedes ‘less certain’ about EU membership

Swedes 'less certain' about EU membership
Birgitta Ohlsson of the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet), whose supporters are the most pro-EU in Sweden. File: TT
Swedish eurozone entry is off the cards and its EU membership would be in danger if Swedes went to the polls today, according to a new survey that also reveals increasingly hesitant opinions about European institutions.

Almost one in three Swedes said they were unsure how they felt about Swedish membership of the European Union.

The new Statistics Sweden survey, published on Wednesday, found that 32 percent of respondents could not say whether they were for or against the country's membership. Sweden joined the union in 1995. 

At the same time, the proportion of resolute nay-sayers decreased from 27 in May to 22.7 percent in the latest survey that took stock of attitudes in November. The state statistics bureau noted that the decrease was statistically significant.

Swedes in favour of being part of the union came in at 45 percent. There were differences between women and men who responded to the survey. Almost 48 percent of men are pro-EU, compared to 43 percent of women who were for union membership. 

There was also proportionally more hesitance and incertitude toward the EU among women – 35.6 percent – compared with 27.9 percent of men who said they did not know if they were for or against membership. 

Swedes' attitude towards potentially joining the eurozone, however, was less ambivalent. A whopping 78 percent of the electorate would choose to stay out of the eurozone if the country held a referendum today. 

"Of those who replied in May 2013 that they would vote yes to the euro, about 67 percent would still vote yes, while about 21 percent now in November would vote no," Statistics Sweden said in a statement. 

A slim 13.9 percent of men and 11.3 percent of women were in favour of introducing the euro currency in Sweden. 

Split along political party lines in Sweden, it was clear from the survey that supporters of the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet), whose Birgitta Ohlsson is Sweden's European Affairs Minister, were the most positive. Almost 70 percent of the government-coalition party's voters are in favour of Sweden's membership in the EU. 

The main conservative party, the Moderates, also had many pro-EU supporters – some 60.6 percent. But there was also more resolute EU resistance compared to the Liberals – 16.5 compared to 10.5 percent. 

EU sympathies were almost the reverse among supporters of the Sweden Democrat party. Almost half, at 47,9 percent, said they were against Swedish membership while 22.4 percent found themselves in favour of it. 

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