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Wednesday, 18 December, 2002, 15:55 GMT
Stockholm sets euro vote question
People look out over the Stockholm skyline
The Swedish public are deeply split on the issue
Sweden has announced the wording of the question to be put in a referendum next year on whether to adopt the euro - to the anger of some opponents.

The decision was made after talks involving all of Sweden's political parties represented in parliament.

Do you think that Sweden should introduce the euro as its currency?

Referendum question

The question - "Do you think that Sweden should introduce the euro as its currency?" - will be answered either by "yes" or "no".

Opponents of the euro had wanted a reference to Sweden "abandoning the krona" and "a transfer of monetary sovereignty to the European Central Bank", but this was rejected.

"I'm not satisfied at all," Green Party leader Peter Eriksson said after the talks. "This is a cowardly way of trying to hide what this is about."

Recent polls have shown that a short, simple question is most likely to favour a "yes" vote.

Unequal funding

Leaders for the seven parliamentary parties also decided how to divide 340 million kronor (37 million euros) in state funds between the campaigns.

Each party was given separate campaign funding according to its size, giving the four parties supporting the euro more cash than the three parties against.

The governing Social Democrats and the Moderate, Liberal and Christian Democratic parties support the euro, while the Left, Green and Centre parties are against.

It was also decided to let immigrants with residence permits vote in the referendum, which will be held on 14 September.

Before the referendum can be held, a majority in parliament must approve the idea, but since only two small parties oppose it, the suggestion is likely to be approved.

Split opinion

Polls have showed that the population is split on the issue, and that support for the euro could be declining.

Although a member of the European Union, Sweden, like the UK and Denmark, did not join the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) with other EU members in 1999.

In May, the European Commission said Sweden was not ready to join the euro because its currency was too unstable and the central bank not independent enough from the government.

The Scandinavian nation of 8.9 million people joined the EU in 1995.

Estonia referendum

The Estonian parliament, meanwhile, has announced that a referendum on European Union membership will be held in mid-September 2003.

Estonia is among the most eurosceptic of the 10 countries invited to join the EU in 2004, and the date puts it among the last countries to hold its referendum.

Hungary, where support for EU membership is strongest, will be the first country to vote, with an April poll.

See also:

30 Nov 02 | Europe
29 Nov 02 | Europe
10 Jun 02 | Business
22 May 02 | Business
10 Aug 01 | Business
14 Nov 02 | Politics
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