Thursday, December 05, 2002

Sweden To Hold Euro Referendum

In what is going to be the first real popular test for the Euro, Sweden has announced plans to hold a referendum on whether to adopt the single European currency on September 14, 2003, Swedish Prime Minister Goeran Persson said on Friday following a meeting of political party leaders. Of course, there's a lot of water to go under the bridge between now and September 2003.

"We have agreed to hold a referendum on the second Sunday in September," Persson said, urging the country's political parties to cooperate across party lines to ensure a "yes" vote. Sweden is a member of the European Union but has joined Denmark and Britain in opting -- so far -- to stay out of the euro zone. Persson said he was optimistic about securing a "yes" vote but acknowledged that the Swedish public was deeply split over the issue. "I believe it will be a yes, but it is far from certain," he said. "We are all a little divided on this issue. That is why we are holding a referendum." Most opinion polls over the past year have indicated Swedes would back swapping their currency, the krona, for the euro, although recent surveys point to more resistance. A Gallup poll published Friday showed 40 percent of Swedes would say "yes" if a referendum were held today, 34 percent would say "no" and 25 percent were undecided. The poll showed however that the "yes" camp's lead had shrunk from 20 percentage points in July to just six points in November.
Source: EU Business

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