Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Swedish Euro Campaign Hots-up Some More

The weather may be cooling, but up in Sweden - with only two weeks to go to D day - things seem to be getting a bit hotter. The statement by Prime Minister Persson that there could be no 'second' vote before 2010 in the event of a 'no' victory, seems extraordinarily silly. There is no good reason for such rigidity in an 'uncertain age', and anyway this argument would be more proper coming from the 'no' camp. Going back to Greenspan and recursive processes for a moment, such an argument may well backfire in being interpreted by voters as a crude attempt to influence them, ie it may not have its intended consequences. The Swedes have been given the right to choose, and should choose as they see fit. Personally, as a strong Euro skeptic, I think they would do well to wait. But if they do wait, and my worst fears prove ill-founded, viz if against all my better judgement, euro-zone monetary and fiscal policy should start to prove its efficacy, then I don't see why the Swedes shouldn't have the right to think again. We can all make mistakes, the assymetry here is that one mistake would be a lot harder to correct than the other: placing artificial constrictions on one of the sides does not reverse this assymetry.

Swedes will not be able to join the euro until 2013 at the earliest if they reject the single currency in a referendum in two weeks, Göran Persson, the prime minister, warned on Sunday.

Mr Persson's statement that a No vote would apply for two parliamentary terms was attacked by No campaigners. They said it was a desperate attempt to turn the tide of public opinion in favour of the Yes camp, which is trailing heavily in the polls. Mr Persson said a new referendum would not be held until after Sweden's 2010 general election (the next election takes place in 2006). Three years would then be needed to prepare for entry.

"If we wait until 2013 we risk Sweden joining the euro project after all the other countries who want to join. The building of Europe's future would continue - without Sweden playing an important role," Mr Persson, the Social Democratic party leader, stated.
Source: Financial Times

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