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Friday, 10 August, 2001, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Sweden 'will join euro in 2005'
Swedish prime minister Goran Persson
Persson: "Won't hold a vote until 'yes' is guaranteed"
Sweden's prime minister has said the country will join the single European currency in 2005 after a referendum.


If there is a good start I think we will join

Sweden's prime minister Goran Persson
Goran Persson told a Swedish newspaper: "If the introduction [of the euro] goes well, as we think it will, then I believe that we will join the euro in 2005."

He said the Swedish government would begin evaluating the conditions of entry early in its next term of office.

Sweden's next general election will be in early September next year.

Half are against

Mr Persson's ruling Social Democrat party last year decided to support entry into the single currency but has not set a date for a referendum.

Opinion polls suggest that 50% of Swedes are against euro membership.

Mr Persson told Swedish financial newspaper FinansTidningen that he had no plans to hold a referendum at present, because it would be a foregone conclusion.

He said he had "no intention of calling a referendum except on the condition that it leads to a 'yes'".

Watched closely

Euro notes and coins are to be introduced in the 12 eurozone countries on 1 January.

Mr Persson said the launch of the notes and coins would be watched closely in Sweden.

And its success - or failure - would be an important factor in changing public opinion towards the euro.

"If there is a good start I think we will join," Mr Persson added.

Apart from Sweden, only Britain and Denmark of the 15 EU member countries have not signed up for the single currency.

Eleven states joined at launch in January 1999, with Greece following at the beginning of this year.

See also:

26 Jul 01 | Business
Dutch relax over euro launch
16 Jul 01 | Business
Germans 'unhappy over euro'
12 Jul 01 | Europe
Belgium pulls out stops for euro
31 Jul 01 | UK Politics
Blair presses EU to change
24 May 01 | Business
Worries over euro change
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