Swedish eurosceptics eye Brussels seats
By Lisbeth Kirk
Eurosceptics in Sweden have formed a new political party to run in the European Election on 13 June 2004.
The new party, named the June List, presented itself today (11 February) in Stockholm to a packed press conference.
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"There is an indignation in Sweden over the ongoing European integration and the constant centralising of political powers in Brussels", said the leader of the new list, Nils Lundgren to the EUobserver.
In September, the majority of Swedes - despite recommendations by the leading political parties - rejected the euro in a referendum.
The new party's first mission is to ensure that Swedes will also have a say on the new European Constitution (if it is agreed) in a referendum. Something the Swedish Parliament - one of the few in Europe - has rebuffed.
Referendum on Constitution
The new June List is also meant to form an alternative for those Swedes, who do not in general back their political parties on European issues. And the list could very well be successful in securing some of the 19 Swedish seats in the European Parliament in the June elections.
A recent survey showed that 25 percent of Swedish voters are ready to vote for the new party and as many as 42 percent believe a new EU-critical party is needed in Swedish politics.
Mr Lundgren emphasises that the new list is not opposed to Swedish EU membership as the Swedish Greens and the Swedish leftists (Vänsterpartiet) are.
He says he is more concerned about democracy and hopes the new list will spark a fresh enthusiasm in the Swedish EU election campaign and raise the turnout.
This is very much needed, as only one in three Swedes, 38.3%, voted in the 1999 EP elections.
No national elections
The June List has picked its name to indicate that it will only run in the June European elections and not for national politics.
In this they very much resemble the Danish eurosceptics which have held a quarter of the Danish seats in the European Parliament in every European election since 1979.
The most urgent task for Mr Lundgren and his supporters is now to collect and present to the 'publicus notarius' 1,500 signatures before 24 February. In March, the candidates of the list will be presented.
Politically, the new party will be in the middle of Swedish party politics and is headed by the Social Democrat and former chief economist at Nordbanken, Nils Lundgren. Former Swedish national bank governor Lars Wohlin will also be on the list.