Sweden in the European Union: Changing Expectations?

Authors: Miles, L.


Journal: Journal of European Integration

Volume: 23

Issue: 4

Pages: 303-333

Publisher: Routledge

ISSN: 0703-6337

DOI: 10.1080/07036330108429107

Sweden has often been regarded by outside observers as one of the more ‘problematic’ Member States of the European Union a reputation that has been consolidated by regular public opinion surveys suggesting widespread scepticism amongst the public and also borne out by Sweden's decision to remain outside the ‘Euro‐zone’. This article outlines the reasons why Sweden has attracted such a reputation. It then challenges such a labelling by examining the prioritising of EU policy issues by the Swedish government over the period since the country joined the Union in January 1995. The author introduces a typology and three scenarios to classify Swedish policy priorities and uses various empirical sources to track their development over four distinct time periods culminating with the Swedish EU Council Presidency in early 2001. It is argued that Sweden has increasingly accepted supranational solutions to European integration questions.

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