18th Sep 2019

No Swedish referendum on EU Constitution

There will be no referendum in Sweden on the new EU Constitution, it emerged on Wednesday (8 December).

Leaders of the four right-wing opposition parties in the Swedish Parliament agreed at a meeting with Social Democrat Prime Minister Göran Persson that ratifying the Constitution via the parliament would be enough.

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Together these five parties hold a solid majority in the parliament and they plan to pass the Constitution by a vote well ahead of the next Swedish elections - due in 2006.

The government will present the bill to the parliament in May in order to have it passed in December 2005.

The two leftist parties in the Parliament and the eurosceptic Junilistan holding three seats in the European Parliament had called for a referendum and said a decision should not be taken this side of the general elections.

Instead of a referendum, the five parties have agreed to initiate a broad debate at the local level on the future of the EU.

However, a handful of Swedish MPs are expected to go against the party line and vote no to the Constitution in the Parliament.

One of them, Social Democrat Sören Wibe, described Wednesday's decision as "a parody of democracy".

"They are afraid of consulting the citizens directly in a referendum", he told the EUobserver.

The Swedes rejected the euro in a referendum in September 2003 against all odds and against the recommendation of the political establishment.

The Swedes also voted three MEPs from the new eurosceptic Junilistan into the European Parliament in June.

According to Mr Wibe, a similar move could occur in the forthcoming national elections so that the current majority to pass the Constitution is lost.

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