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What are Swedish values? Many Swedes are unsure

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What are Swedish values? Many Swedes are unsure
Photo: Erik Johansen / TT
11:03 CET+01:00
Although perhaps one of the hottest potatoes in the Swedish political debate right now, many Swedes still find it hard to pinpoint exactly what Swedish values are, a new study shows.

Equality? Midsummer? Fika? As many as 36 percent of the Swedes have a difficult time answering the question of what exactly Swedish values are, an opinion poll conducted by Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter and the Ipsos research institute shows.

And as many one in ten say the concept in itself is pure “nonsense”.  

Some 1,000 people took part in the poll which posed the question: “What, if anything, do Swedish values represent for you?”

But some did have an answer. Nineteen percent of the participants said that “equality, the equal value of everyone” represents Swedish values, while 13 percent answered: “Western values, democracy, freedom, human rights, openness”. Another 13 percent said the concept concerns “to follow Swedish norms, rules and traditions, to speak and understand the Swedish language”.

According to Swedish news agency TT, those who had the least problems in answering the question support the country’s anti-immigrant political party, the Sweden Democrats, and which often uses the concept of “Swedish values” in its rhetoric. Social Democrat party supporters, however, had the most difficulty in answering the question.

“Many people respond with what they find good with Sweden themselves,” David Ahlin, a spokesman for Ipsos, was quoted as telling the newspaper.

“Many define their own values as Swedish values,” he said.

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