9th Apr 2020

Yes camp "spending more than Bush"

  • Campaigns cost money... but the yes camp has lots of it. (Photo: Ja till euron)

New research from the Social Democrats Against EMU - seen by the EUobserver - claims that the yes camp in Sweden is spending more than twice as much per person than George W. Bush's 2000 Presidential election campaign.

The yes camp has not disclosed the exact amount being spent on their campaign, but they are being heavily funded by big business, as well as by the government.

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The commonly accepted figure - not denied by the yes camp - is between 200-300 million Swedish crowns (roughly 22-33 million euro). This works out at just over 31 crowns per voter (or €3.40).

In contrast, Mr Bush's Presidential campaign cost $185million (or €166m) to win over the 105 million Americans who voted in the election on 2000. Per voter, this works out at $1.76 or €1.58.

According to the BBC, this was "the most expensive in history". But the no campaign claims that the yes-side is spending over twice as much per voter as Mr Bush did in 2000.

Funding: the big issue

Campaign funding and spending has been one of the biggest issues throughout the referendum campaign. The no camp received 48 million Swedish crowns (€5.25m) from the State, slightly more than the 42 million Swedish crowns (€4.58m) allotted to the yes side.

However, pro-euro businesses such as Ericsson and Telia are backing the yes campaign heavily and it is said that the yes side can count on a "blank cheque" from the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.

Money makes all the difference...

On the ground, the financial superiority of the yes camp is clear. There are whole brigades of paid employees handing out glossy "ja till euron" literature - a stark contrast to the handful of volunteers in "no" T-shirts handing out paper flyers and badges. Yes campaign advertising in Stockholm heavily outweighs the no camp's.

But in some ways, the money poured into the yes campaign has only served to fuel feeling that the euro is an elitist project.

The no campaign by contrast feels like a grassroots campaign and its volunteers are by-in-large more passionate.

This becomes clear when speaking to the ordinary campaigners lining the streets in Sweden. A paid yes campaigner in Uppsala told the EUobserver, "well, I'm not that interested in the issue but I'm getting paid and the only reality in life is bills, bills and more bills".

But Luise, a volunteer from the Green party, campaigning at Stockholm Central Station said, "they have all the money and all the people. But we have all the spirit".

We will find out on Sunday if spirit is enough.

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