Nr. 12-2011 Published monthly by:
The Swedish Chamber of Commerce
in Estonia

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"Sweden will join sooner or later." "According to opinion polls over the past ten years Sweden and the United Kingdom have been consistently disapproving the joint European currency. In Sweden the majority which says no has fluctuated between 50 – 55% over the past five years. In Britain even more so, recently reaching a high of 75% per cent of the voting population not interested in joining the euro."

Written by Anton Assarsson, an article in Link, the magazine of The Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the United Kingdom, discusses Sweden's and UK's positions towards EMU and the euro.

"With diversified economic conditions and cultural differences it still seems that the reasons for the negative outlook on the euro are related in the two countries. Pontus Hansson, PhD. in Economics at the University of Lund, thinks it all comes down to how we handle financial problems: - There is a perception that Sweden has been economically successful and that this is a consequence of the Swedish model. We are not willing to renounce our ideals and establish a more international attitude."

"Alan Marin, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Economics at the London School of Economics and Politics has a similar outlook: -It is a mixture of economics and politics. There is a strong feeling that we have economic sovereignty in Britain, and we are not prepared to let others make decisions affecting us."

"Pontus Hansson looks at Sweden's relative prosperity as in some ways a consequence of our denomination and sees big problems with giving up the Swedish krona. He is also convinced that the public's view on the EMU has become even more wounded because of the recession: - The big drawback is that we would not be able to regulate the Swedish krona when the economical climate asks for it, as we have done on several occasions in the past with good results. Instead we would have to make bigger internal reforms. In the context of the financial crisis it has been positive for Sweden not being a part of the EMU. We have been able to handle it without being dragged down by other countries in the same way, and the medial image of the credit crunch in general and Greece's problems in particular are important reasons for the bleak interest in the Euro. We do not wish to invest in a bad transaction."

"Neither Alan Marin nor Pontus Hansson believes their respective countries will come to join the EMU in the near future. Alan Marin explains: - Britain sees itself as detached from Europe, as somewhat different. Sweden has also been wary of involvement in different wars just like Britain. There is a general feeling of being different, not part of the central European group."

"Pontus Hansson concurs: - We have another attitude towards the relations within the European Union. We want more of an intermediate position, where we are still able to govern ourselves. Both countries are against a completely cohesive European Union. The United Kingdom has had the strongest economy in the world and that sentiment is deeply buried within the public.

"On top of the resistance of the British and Swedish people, Alan Marin and Pontus Hansson do not believe Europe is a suitable collection of countries for a joint currency."

"- It is most likely not, Pontus Hansson says. The European Union does not fulfill the criteria; it is a much too large and diverse collection of countries. The objection might be that countries that collaborate for long periods of time have a tendency to become more interrelated and the more significant differences disappear. This might of course happen, but it will take a long time."

"- Even the existing Eurozone is probably too large, Alan Marin says. However, Alan Marin ensures a safe future for the Euro, even if this does not involve Britain: - It has a secure future, I cannot see why not. The problems seen in Greece now are temporary ones. The Eurozone will never break up; the European Central bank will not let it happen. But the Queen is not set for the Euro."

"- In time the Euro will take over as the strongest currency, in competition with the Yuan, and Sweden will join, according to Pontus Hansson. My personal guess is that it will take a few years yet. But if the economy starts to stabilise, Sweden will join sooner or later. The United Kingdom will not roll over as easily. I am not even sure it will happen at all."

The full article is available online at www.scc.org.uk.

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