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15 years since the magical yes vote

2009/11/13

Today, it’s exactly fifteen years since Swedes voted in favour of Sweden joining the European Union. Those of us who campaigned for a yes vote finally succeeded in convincing a majority of the population to put the ’yes’ ballot in the box. It’s hard to forget the joy of victory in the evening of 13 November 1994, when the final results appeared on the TV screen.

The referendum followed on a long and quite aggressive campaign, paved by exaggerated rumours from the no side, claiming how Sweden would be hit by EU membership. Hormon-treated beef was to invade supermarkets, the right to walk freely in our forests would be banned, Germans were to buy up each and every summer house in the country and democracy would come to an end. Did this actually happen?

Of course not. It’s true, however, that EU membership has brought substantial and positive changes to the Swedish society. Today, we share a Common Foreign and Security Policy with 26 other Member States, we are part of a single market with nearly half a billion consumers. We have tough, common regulations on environment and a common policy on asylum and migration will soon be in place. After fifteen years of membership, the European Union has become an integral part of Swedish democracy.

The government is committed to standing up for Europe back home, by showing the added value of EU membership, tell citizens what the government does in Brussels and engage in a dialogue on EU related issues.

The result? Well, since a number of years, a majority of Swedes support membership in the EU and consider the European Union as a good thing. This support is constantly growing.

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