Swedish PM: Euroscepticism is a form of 'Destructive Nationalism'
The European Union’s failure to deliver economic growth and jobs has frayed public trust in democracy and fostered a nationalist climate that could reward anti-immigration, eurosceptic parties in this month’s EU elections, according to Sweden's prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.
Reinfeldt, a centre-right politician often compared to David Cameron, is an enthusiastic supporter of the “European ideal.”
In a 2003 referendum on membership of the single currency, he was part of the unsuccessful campaign which urged Sweden to abandon the krona and join the euro.
He remains a supporter of Swedish membership of the euro, despite the economic disaster of the eurozone and the continuing resistance to the euro among Swedes.
Now Reinfeldt is claiming that euroscepticism is dangerous “nationalism” according to a Reuters report.
Reinfeldt said in an interview last week: "(The economic crisis) has weakened the forces of integration or standing up for this European ideal.”
In an attempt to link resistance to the EU with what he called “destructive nationalism,” he pointed to "the kind of (nationalist) thinking behind that, which has been a problem in Europe for hundreds of years ... [it] is very much the same kind of thinking you see Russia now doing in Ukraine or you will see in many forces throughout Europe."
The “forces throughout Europe” to which he was referring appear to be the anti-EU parties in France, the Netherlands, Italy, Britain and elsewhere which are on course to return up to 200 members to the 751-seat European Parliament on May 22-25.
Right-wing anti-EU parties are polling strongly in Nordic countries. In Finland, the eurosceptical, anti-euro Finns Party likely to take 25 per cent of the 13 Finnish seats in the European Parliament.
In Sweden, the eurosceptic Sweden Democrats party showed five percent support in the latest Eurowatch opinion poll.
In the national elections in Sweden in September, which Reinfeldt and his Moderate Party look likely to lose to the Social Democrats, the Sweden Democrats could hold the balance of power.
Members of the party have recently been the target of a far-left organisation called Researchgruppen which traced the email addresses and identified more than 6,000 rightwing online commentators.
Researchgruppen gave the information to newspaper reporters who in a kind of "inquisition"then turned up with television cameras on the doorsteps of online commenters to demand they justify their rightwing opinions.