It was in a recent interview with Europaportalen, that Tommy Waidelich, economic spokesperson for the Social Democrats, delivered his view on the euro and Sweden's possible membership.
This means that the Social Democrats turn 180 degrees in the euro-issue. In 2003 the party was on the Yes-side during the referendum and even if the party was divided its leadership was more or less unanimous. Now, the 48 year old Tommy Waidelich says that a Swedish euro-membership should be out of the question during his life-time.
The background is (not surprisingly) the debt-crisis in parts of the euro-zone:
- The situation is critical. I don't think that that the proposal that Merkel and Sarkozy presented in Paris is enough to manage the debt crisis and to make the euro work better.
- To leave the euro is no option. This would only worsen the situation for Portugal and Greece with for example tougher loan conditions.
The euro important for Sweden
The Europaportalen asked Waidelich how important it is for Sweden that the euro functions well. Waidelich's answer is clear:
- Sweden has a strong interest in a well-functioning euro since our most important trading-partner are settled in the euro-zone. But there is also a risk that Sweden would be affected by the financial problems. Sweden has Europe's fourth largest bank sector in relation to GDP and the risk for a dispersion effect is therefore relevant.
'The era of neo-liberalism is over'
Waidelich is furthermore of the opinion that this crisis is a chance for European Social Democrats to take the initiative.
- The current bank crisis demonstrates that the era of neo-liberalism is over. This is an opportunity for us Social Democrats but then we must also take initiatives and develop some ideas. So far we have gathered around discussions on how to stimulate the economy and how to make the banks contribute. But I think there is much more to do for the European Social Democracy. I will take the initiative to gather all the ekonomic spokespersons to discuss a Social Democratic alternative.
Tommy Waidelich argues also that Sweden should stay outside the euro-zone in a foreseeable future. On the question of what a 'foreseeable future means for him he answered as follows:
- To me that is my life-time, my generation. As long as I am a decision-maker.