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date: 22 June 2017

Sweden and the European Union

Summary and Keywords

Membership in the European Union (EU) entails adjustments or changes in national democracies. Sweden joined the EU in 1995, and EU membership has given rise to controversies in the public debate as well as in the academic community. Four main scholarly and related themes are addressed here.

First is the discursive construction of the question of democracy in relation to European integration. In an effort to legitimize membership in the public debate, the consequences in terms of sovereignty were summarized in the official Swedish discourse on EU membership as a loss in formal sovereignty but an increase in real sovereignty. The conclusions became known as the calculus of sovereignty. This conceptual innovation entailed a reinterpretation of popular sovereignty, as stipulated by the Swedish constitution, as well as of democracy, implying that efficiency or problem-solving capacity was emphasized more than procedural democracy. Increased economic and political interdependence had created a situation where independent political decisions were seen as ineffective.

Second is the controversy surrounding the question of influence and the extent to which Sweden is exerting influence in the EU. This issue came to the fore in connection with the euro referendum in 2003. While some argued that remaining outside the euro would come with a political price—marginalization—others emphasized the lack of evidence for such effects. To some extent, this remains a moot point, not least as a result of the expansion and importance of the euro zone.

Third is the question of whether or not there is political opposition, that is, conflict rather than consensus in EU affairs. Recent research claims that (allegedly almost nonexistent) previous research had underestimated the degree of political opposition or conflict, notably in parliament. Moreover, results suggest that there is variation in EU opposition across time and policy areas. However, the key question here should be whether or not there is effective opposition, making a difference to policy outcomes. Several reforms have been initiated to strengthen the involvement of the parliament in EU policymaking, but none has really sought to challenge the balance between parliamentary scrutiny and executive discretion.

Fourth is the state and different interpretations of either decentering or centering effects. Whereas some claim that fragmentation or decentralization is the central feature of the Europeanization of the Swedish state, other researchers submit that the predominant tendency is rather centralization, as the demands of EU decision making—not least EU summitry—on national policy coordination have been a principal driving factor in this process.

These are the main themes in the debate over the EU and EU membership in Sweden. Included here are a series of analytical narratives and counternarratives, as well as a discussion of important implications for the national democracy and for the distribution or redistribution of power among domestic political actors therein. In sum, any interpretation of modern-day politics must now take into account the significance of the EU, operating through Europeanizing impacts.

Keywords: consensus, coordination, democracy, European Union, influence, institution, opposition, sovereignty, state

Introduction

The starting point in this effort to capture the essential elements of Sweden’s EU membership is that any membership in the EU entails adjustments or changes in national democracies. Sweden joined the EU in 1995, and EU membership has given rise to controversies in the public debate as well as in the academic community.

EU membership has stimulated a wealth of insights from research and research programs, and here the questions and puzzles that drive research are examined, together with the interaction between theory and empirics. Hence, an inventory of research and secondary evidence covering central features of Sweden as a EU member is presented.1

In this examination of existing research and secondary literature, one aim is to take stock and further the development of research on the EU and member states, including Sweden, in its broadest sense. This will yield further and cumulative knowledge of this topic, more specifically furthering our ability to understand the Europeanization of national polities.2 To that end, a number of guiding and interlinked themes pertaining to the Swedish EU membership are explored in terms of commonality/variability, characteristics, and distinctiveness of this membership.

The scholarly debate features four main and related themes, addressed here: (1) the discursive construction of the question of democracy in relation to European integration; (2) the controversy surrounding the question of influence and the extent to which Sweden is exerting influence in the EU; (3) the question of whether or not there is political opposition, that is, conflict rather than consensus in EU affairs; and (4) the state and different interpretations of either decentering or centering effects. These are the main and related (to a varying extent recurrent) themes in the debate over EU and EU membership in Sweden and the central guiding principles and organizing themes for this discussion.

To address these themes, an inventory of voluminous secondary sources is presented, together with available evidence covering a broad set of aspects related to Sweden’s EU membership, designed to highlight and show how this one EU member has been doing since joining. In this vein, the study has an explorative, and to some extent also a comparative approach, within-case across time and potentially also across cases. There is a certain chronology or temporality here, reflecting essential aspects during and across different stages of Sweden’s EU membership.

The analytic narrative approach adopted here is designed to examine and assess the central features of Sweden’s EU membership by identifying key debates or controversies and trends, seeking also to contribute to future research. Analytic narrative analysis seeks to draw broad, applicable theoretical generalizations from specific historical examples or particular cases and from explanations of political outcomes in case studies (Bates et al., 1998). Close analysis of cases illuminate important general issues.

Any EU membership involves various actors, structures, and institutions—for example, social movements and partners, interest groups, the media, and public opinion, as well as subnational units. These, however, are outside the scope of this discussion, which deals primarily with the central level of the polity. Emphasis is placed on the executive and executive–legislative relations. At the national level are the central decision makers in a EU setting.

Theme I: Democracy Redefined?

The question of whether the EU suffers from a democratic deficit, and, if so, what might be done about it, has generated extensive interest over the past decades. At the heart of this debate are matters pertaining to institutions and relations among them. But the scholarly debate also features a discursive dimension.

Although neutrality was weakened from the late 1980s onward as the prime argument against closer Swedish involvement in European integration, a number of arguments relating to sovereignty, autonomy, the welfare state, and the societal model remained obstacles to legitimizing membership. In both the official Swedish discourse on EU membership and the public debate, the consequences in terms of sovereignty were summarized as a loss of formal sovereignty but an increase in real sovereignty. The conclusions became known as the calculus of sovereignty.

The sociologist Kerstin Jacobsson (1997), in her doctoral thesis about the Swedish debate on participation in European integration and membership in the EU, with particular reference to the question of democracy, employs discourse analysis when investigating how democracy was discursively dealt with in this debate. She also discusses some implications following from the discursive construction of the question of democracy in relation to European integration. Jacobsson (1997, p. 353) reconstructs what may be regarded as three paradoxes in the official Swedish discourse on EU membership in 1994:

  1. 1. The EU is democratic, but it is not a democracy.

  2. 2. The political arena is internationalized, whereas the democratic arena is domesticized.

  3. 3. Sweden surrenders sovereignty but remains sovereign.

In conclusion, Jacobsson (1997, p. 356) summarizes the discursive changes that had been identified in the EU debate—most importantly, a shift away from a procedural conception of democracy, as well as a mixing of democratic gains and gains in efficiency and practical politics.3 The result is a “transformation from national state to member-state” (Jacobsson, 1997, p. 356).

This is a valid point and an important addition to the existing literature on the internationalization or Europeanization of the national democracy and state. Yet, the question that arises is whether the concept of democracy is independent of time or whether it should be updated to the fundamental change taking place over time.

The conceptual innovation of formal sovereignty and real sovereignty entailed a reinterpretation of popular sovereignty, as stipulated by the Swedish constitution, as well as of democracy, implying that efficiency or problem-solving capacity was emphasized more than procedural democracy. Increased economic and political interdependence had created a situation where independent political decisions were seen as ineffective. Sweden’s economic crisis in 1990, along with the lessons from the economic policy change of the French socialist government in the 1980s, affected the previous conception of sovereignty and autonomy among social democratic elites in particular.

Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson (1986–1991; 1994–1996) pointed out that experience had shown—not least in France in the 1980s, but also in Sweden in the early 1990s—that “the nation state is no longer sufficient” (author interview, Stockholm, October 22, 1997). Carlsson later recalled that he strongly linked the employment issue to the EU and membership thereof (author interview, Stockholm, August 29, 2005). One of the main reasons why he supported Sweden’s membership in the EC was that it is impossible to handle employment policy (or, for instance, the Baltic Sea environmental issues) in isolation from other countries. Therefore, he argued, Sweden ought to be brought closer to the process of European cooperation and integration.

In sum, the democracy issue was closely related to concern over influence, the next theme, as follows.

Theme II: Influence?

The question of influence and the extent to which Sweden is exerting influence in the EU came to the fore in connection with the referendum on the euro in 2003. While some (e.g., Gidlund & Jerneck, 1996; Jerneck, 2002, 2011, 2014; Tallberg & Johansson, 2003) argued that remaining outside the euro would come with a political price—marginalization—others (e.g., Lindahl & Naurin, 2003, 2005, 2014; Naurin & Lindahl, 2010, 2014) emphasized the lack of evidence for such effects. To some extent, this remains a moot point, not least as a result of the expansion and importance of the euro zone.

Underlying this controversy is a fundamental difference in the understanding of the EU and how it actually functions, of power dynamics and mechanisms, and patterns of interaction and influence in the EU context. Accordingly, there are divergent expectations of the influence states can actually exert in a union of common institutions but significant power asymmetries.

What grants influence in the EU? This is a multifaceted phenomenon and needs to be recognized and treated as such. In brief, EU decision making features negotiations, and the bargaining power of individual states influences policy outcomes, along with bargaining skills and coalition formation.

Rutger Lindahl and Daniel Naurin, Swedish political scientists (e.g., Lindahl & Naurin, 2003, 2005, 2014; Naurin & Lindahl, 2010, 2014) reach the conclusion that Sweden’s influence in the EU, specifically in the Council, has not diminished as a result of being outside the euro zone and that Sweden continues to have access, bargaining power, and so-called network capital in the EU.

As Miles (2011, p. 265) has noted, this research is about the twin faces of a euro outsider (Lindahl & Naurin, 2005) as regards European integration: “Faced with a notable elite versus public divide on the issue of further European integration, in which the Swedish public was considerably more cautious, Lindahl and Naurin took up the issue, articulated by Johansson (2002) of Sweden being ‘an outsider, yet also on the inside’.” Miles (2011, p. 270) further notes that the studies by Lindahl and Naurin on the extent of cooperation among national officials reinforces their argument that Swedish policymakers are held in high regard in EU circles: “As Naurin and Lindahl (2010) put it, Sweden . . . enjoys substantial amounts of, what they call, ‘network capital’. Swedish policy-makers have a consistent and wide set of potential cooperation partners that facilitate information gathering and coalition formation during EU negotiations.”

Exploring the question of whether Sweden’s political status has been affected by being a euro outsider, Naurin and Lindahl (2010, p. 487) observe:

In Sweden, support for the argument that Euro-outsider status would imply a loss of influence in the EU generally was given by the special government commission that was set up in 1996 to evaluate the possible economic and political consequences of joining the Euro. The main political reason in favour of joining the Euro, according to the commission, was the risk of losing out as a Euro-outsider in the informal negotiations.4

Naurin and Lindahl (2010, p. 485) summarize:

It has been argued, for example, that the decisions by Denmark, Sweden and the UK not to join the Euro is considered to be free-riding, which leads to a bad reputation and exclusion from informal networks.5 We test this proposed free-rider effect by comparing the network capital of Euro-outsiders with insiders in the Council of the EU, using survey data of more than 600 member state representatives. The findings speak strongly against the free-rider hypothesis, as the Euro-outsiders are highly ranked in terms of network capital.

Methodologically, this research uses survey data, more specifically drawing on a telephone survey with a great number of telephone interviews conducted. The publications reflect some awareness of potential interviewer effects potential biases that typically arise in telephone surveys/interviews, such as social desirability bias. Yet, this is and remains a problem in this kind of research. Hence, some measurement challenges are involved here, when devising measures as well as the tools that can be employed to address those challenges.

In short, influence (or the lack thereof) is difficult to observe and measure in practice. It can be general or specific. It can be manifest or latent. In any event, it remains a liability to be outside the euro zone when it comes to the distribution of key posts in EU institutions, especially for a relatively small member state.

This debate is likely to resume, again and again, as the EU and the euro zone evolve. There is a concern over the role of the outsiders vis-à-vis the insiders, not least in consideration of “Brexit.”

Theme III: Political Opposition?

The third theme revolves around the question of whether or not there is political opposition, that is, conflict rather than consensus in EU affairs. This theme goes to the very heart of the study of politics—the role of opposition in democracies. It concerns questions of consensus versus conflict, contestation, competition, and accountability; whether there is a capacity of real political choice, of policy alternatives, and whether decision makers can be held to account. Arguably, the internationalization of politics leads to a reduction of policy options in domestic party systems.

As elsewhere, elite consensus is a characteristic feature of national political culture in Sweden regarding “the foreign.” The academic discussion on the degree to which Swedish political culture is best described in terms of conflict or consensus has been long-standing. Scholars have offered varying interpretations, which to some extent depend on the design of the studies in terms of time period, policy focus, the actors or structures studied and focus on ideology or strategy. The government usually seeks national unity or consensus in the foreign and security policy domain. Central actors have held the view that consensual decision making strengthens the foreign policy of a small country.

A new coalition pattern on the political scene took shape when the pro-EU front in the 1994 referendum campaign included the leader of the liberal-conservative Moderate Party and the leader of the Social Democrats. Alongside them were the Liberals, the Centre Party, and the Christian Democrats, many trade unions, and business associations. This gathering created an image of consensual preferences that were in line with traditional foreign policy. Initially, the EU was mainly perceived and treated as part of foreign policy. Therefore, it is not surprising that much of the parliamentary decision making on the EU was made in a spirit of traditional foreign policy.

In his doctoral thesis on national EU parliamentarism and the Swedish parliament’s work with EU matters, Hans Hegeland (2006, pp. 345–346) summarizes:

There are both consensus and conflict when the Riksdag works with EU matters. There are fewer dissenting views on EU issues in the reports from the sectoral committees than on other matters. There have been demands for unanimity if the committees are to pursue a policy internationally, but these demands seem to have decreased over time. In the Committee on EU Affairs, the level of conflict is lower than in the domestic policy ideal type and sometimes the deliberations aim at consensus. When politically controversial issues, such as economic policy, are discussed, the deliberations may be characterized by conflict. There are no large and systematic differences in the chamber between EU issues and other issues when it comes to the level of consensus. . . . There is, however, more consensus in EU matters than implied by the domestic policy ideal type. The fact that the Riksdag and the government most often agree can be understood in various ways. Typically, however, the Riksdag adjusts its views in accordance with the views of the government, the latter being the actor that formulates proposals for Swedish standpoints.

Thus, there is a certain level of conflict, but consensus is also a characteristic feature of Sweden when it comes to the EU.

Moreover, there was a broad national consensus in connection with Sweden’s two EU presidencies. However, whereas the first presidency in 2001 was characterized by a strong consensus or national unity (Hegeland & Johansson, 2000, 2001), the level of political conflict was higher during the 2009 presidency (Johansson et al., 2010b, 2012).

Recent research claims that (allegedly almost nonexistent) previous research had underestimated the degree of political opposition or conflict, notably in parliament. Moreover, results suggest that there is variation in EU opposition across time and policy areas. Examining the institutional arrangement/mechanism of the European Affairs Committee (EAC) and the extent to which there actually is opposition in EU affairs, two Swedish political scientists, Christer Karlsson and Thomas Persson (2015, p. 1), summarize:

According to an often repeated claim, European Union politics is characterized by a conspicuous absence of political opposition. In this paper, we carry out an empirical examination of opposition in Sweden’s European Affairs Committee (EAC) for the years 2002, 2007 and 2012. When considering all cases where a decision must be made by the EAC, we find more expressions of opposition in EU affairs than the proponents of the “no opposition-thesis” would have predicted. Furthermore, our results clearly suggest that there is variation in EU opposition over time and between different policy areas. The results also indicate that it matters which parties sit in the cabinet and what type of parties are represented in parliament.

The so-called “no opposition thesis” can be seen in conjunction with the wider debate on the “waning of opposition,” a thesis refuted in a recent Swedish study (Loxbo & Sjölin, 2016).

Evidence is mixed, however, and there is obviously a need for more research on opposition, with or without relation to the EU. This research needs further elaboration. The key question here should be whether or not there is effective opposition, with a capacity to make any substantial difference to policy outcomes.

In Sweden, several institutional reforms have been initiated to strengthen the involvement of the parliament in EU policymaking, but, arguably, none has really sought to challenge the balance between parliamentary scrutiny and executive discretion (Johansson & Tallberg, 2010). The effects are long-term shifts in the domestic institutional balance of power between the executive and the legislature.

The Swedish prime minister from 1996 to 2006, Göran Persson, expressed great satisfaction with the existing system of parliamentary scrutiny, testifying that the Committee on EU Affairs caused his government “extremely few troubles” (G. Persson, 2007, p. 236). The fact that Persson’s social democratic government was in a parliamentary minority during this period and had to secure support for its proposals through negotiations with other parties did not prevent EU policy from being exceedingly government driven.

Political developments since 2006 suggest that the shift in executive–legislative relations is permanent, rather than conditional on specific political circumstances or personalities. EU decision making has weakened the ability of the Swedish parliament to control the executive in general and the prime minister in particular. Decision making at the EU level excludes the parliament from direct participation, and its mechanisms for controlling the executive are purposefully designed to allow the government and the prime minister certain leeway in EU negotiations.

Theme IV: Centralization or Fragmentation?

The fourth and final theme is the state and different interpretations of either decentering or centering effects. The importance of the EU as a crucial carrier of influence for the state and domestic authority structures has been of growing interest to EU studies or organization scholars over the last three decades.

While Bengt Jacobsson and Göran Sundström (e.g., 2006, 2016) claim that fragmentation or decentralization is the central feature of the Europeanization of the Swedish state, another significant finding is that other researchers submit that the predominant tendency is centralization, rather, as the demands of EU decision making—not least EU summitry—on national policy coordination have been a principal driving force in this process (e.g., Johansson, 2008; Johansson & Raunio, 2010; Johansson & Tallberg, 2010; Johansson et al., 2010a).

If one is to judge from Jacobsson and Sundström, the state seems to have become looser and is fragmented. In this analysis, the state is decentered and fragmented (Jacobsson et al., 2015; Jacobsson & Sundström, 2006, 2016). This is something of a puzzle when viewed against the background of the “state-centric political culture” in Sweden (Jacobsson et al., 2015, p. 6). Jacobsson et al. (2015, p. 123) observe an “an increased fragmentation of the Swedish state.” At the same time, they note that one “might argue that this change has made it more important for the government to supervise and decide—at least sometimes—on agencies’ internal organization in order to avoid fragmentation.”

According to Jacobsson and Sundström (2016, p. 519), states are fragmented:

With these observations in mind, the view of states as primarily purposeful and strategic is difficult to adhere to wholeheartedly. Purposes and strategies are to a large extent learned and picked up in wider European and global environments. Another belief about states that is difficult to reconcile with empirical observations is that they are coherent and meticulously coordinated, and that—in interaction with other states—they are able to “speak with one voice.” The coherence of states can be seriously contested as they become increasingly integrated in European and transnational networks. States are fragmented. In our studies, this fragmentation manifested itself in a number of different ways.

In a way, this is a truism. Given its complexity, any state is fragmented, with some diffusion or dispersion of authority. To alleviate this problem there are efforts at centralization.

So, on the one hand, there is fragmentation, and on the other, there is increased centralization of the state and a shift to a process of solid centralized politics. Demonstrably, the EU has imposed additional functional requirements for coordination on the central government, further reinforcing the centralization of an already centralized state. And the main reason for that is the demand for central coordination. There are functional pressures for the government to be as well coordinated as possible—“to speak with one voice”—and also, from a small state’s perspective, to compensate for the relatively fewer power resources.

Prime minister Göran Persson sought to centralize EU policy to his office. His state secretary for EU affairs (1999–2006), Lars Danielsson, observes that Sweden is “a small country” and that “we must be as well coordinated as possible in order for us to be able to assert ourselves” (author interview, Stockholm, September 28, 2005; see also T. Persson, 2007; Johansson & Raunio, 2010).

Johansson and Tallberg (2010, p. 225) conclude:

In conclusion, the history of Swedish intra-executive relations since 1995 is one of gradual reinforcement of the chief executive at the expense of other ministers. The principal driving factor in this process has been the demands of EU decision-making—not least EU summitry—on national policy coordination. Step by step, authority and resources have been shifted to the prime minister’s office, which has taken command over Swedish EU policy. Despite traditions and norms prescribing a small prime minister’s office and collective decision-making in the cabinet, power has been centralised with the chief executive.

Table 1 Major organizational changes in the system of EU coordination in Sweden

Year

Changes

1994

A separate minister for EU affairs in the Ministry for Foreign affairs. Day-to-day policy coordination by an EU secretariat in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

1996

The position of minister for EU affairs in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs abolished. Overall responsibility for EU coordination placed in the prime minister’s office. Day-to-day coordination remains in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

1999

The position of state secretary for EU affairs in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs transferred to the prime minister’s office and put in charge of a new EU department. Day-to-day coordination remains in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

2004

Overall responsibility for EU policy coordination placed with deputy prime minister in the prime minister’s office.

2005

Day-to-day coordination shifted from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to a new EU coordination secretariat in the prime minister’s office.

2006

A minister for EU affairs established in the prime minister’s office.

2014

The position of minister for EU affairs abolished. Day-to-day EU coordination remains in the prime minister’s office.

2016

A minister for EU affairs established in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Day-to-day EU coordination remains in the prime minister’s office.

Source: Adapted and extended from Persson (2007, p. 209), and Johansson and Tallberg (2010, p. 223).

The system of EU coordination in Sweden provides a case of both institutional change and institutional stability. Over time, this system has institutionalized and stabilized, as shown in Table 1. The appointment in 2016 of a minister for EU affairs placed in the ministry for foreign affairs does not change the fundamental institutional logic here—the movement from a foreign minister-led to a prime minister-led system of EU coordination in Sweden too.

Hans Dahlgren, state secretary to the prime minister, with experience working for four Swedish prime ministers, termed this system “stable” and also stated that the prime minister has his own role in European politics, frequently attending summits (author interview, Stockholm, September 5, 2016). To this end, the prime minister has additional resources.

In sum, one wants or needs the mechanisms, and once one is down that road, power does not devolve downward again. Mechanisms in the Swedish case refer to authority and personnel in the prime minister’s office. It represents a move toward a centralized prime ministerial core executive. However, this clearly varies across cases.

Increased pressures for centralization have been felt as core executives confront the differentiation of government and the functional pressure for central organizational structures and coordination mechanisms. Authority has increasingly become centralized around the person of the chief executive—the prime minister. This phenomenon—the emergence of presidential or prime ministerial government—has been the result of many factors, including the increasing demands of domestic policy coordination and international summitry.

Yet, it should be made clear that a centralization of power with chief executives is by no means the only effect of European integration on national administrations. Clearly, integration may simultaneously engender processes of decentralization and diffusion, as ministries, agencies, and subnational regions engage in direct contact with Brussels (e.g., Jacobsson et al., 2004; Lægreid et al., 2004; Larsson & Trondal, 2005; Jacobsson & Sundström, 2006, 2016). Given the complexity of the processes at work, some of those are beyond the control of the central government.

The extent of centralization can be expected to vary according to formal arrangements—constitutions and institutions—and to political circumstances. Future research should account for varying degrees of centralization of the processes and of varying levels of centralization within government structures across time and cases.

Concluding Discussion

The overview and inventory of research give cause for concern. The first concern pertains to the question of legitimacy of the membership itself. There is an elite–public divide, and the discourse redefining democracy shows that membership is elite-driven and legitimized in terms of output rather than input—more specifically through efficiency or problem-solving capacity instead of traditional procedural or participatory democracy. A second concern pertains to Sweden’s actual influence in the EU. Membership encompasses a process involving strategies and influence. Whereas Sweden in many ways has performed well in the EU, notably through its civil service, it remains aloof from the core of the EU, not least by being outside of the euro. Within the EU, Sweden remains something of an outsider. Within Sweden, splits in the electorate and in political parties have resulted in a containment of the debate on Europe and a supercautious approach. A third concern pertains to executive-legislative relations and the distribution of power between these two branches of government. In Sweden, several institutional reforms have been initiated to strengthen the involvement of the parliament in EU policymaking, but none has really sought to challenge the balance between parliamentary scrutiny and executive discretion. The effects are long-term shifts in the domestic institutional balance of power between the executive and the legislature. This is another field to pursue further. A fourth and related concern pertains to the state and its authority. There are signs of fragmentation or decentralization, but the overall trend within the executive itself is clear: centralization. Existing research demonstrates tendencies toward both centralization and fragmentation. Paradoxically, perhaps, it appears that these are parallel tendencies. It is not a question of either-or but of more-or-less, of both. Centralization is a response to fragmentation, a way of seeking to take control through central coordination. This, too, promises to be an exciting line of research.

In conclusion, this study has two broader implications. First, it suggests and documents that the one EU member state under scrutiny has experienced significant pressures for adjustment or change. Whereas, counterfactually, many of the adjustments or changes would have happened anyway, there are significant EU dynamics at work. Second, therefore, the EU should be taken seriously. It matters, and it wields influence on member states and their domestic authority structures. Therefore, any interpretation of modern-day politics must now take into account the significance of the EU, operating through Europeanizing impacts.

Acknowledgments

An earlier version of this article was presented at the workshop on European research at the annual meeting of the Swedish Political Science Association (SWEPSA), Visby, October 2016. For insightful comments and suggestions, I wish to thank, in particular, Linda Berg. I also would like to thank the anonymous reviewers, as well as the editors of the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics.

Further Reading

Aylott, N., Blomgren, M., & Bergman, T. (2013). Political parties in multi-level polities: The Nordic countries compared. Basingstoke, U.K.: Palgrave Macmillan.Find this resource:

Bengtsson, R. (Ed.). (2010). I Europas tjänst: Sveriges ordförandeskap i EU 2009. Stockholm: SNS Förlag.Find this resource:

Blomgren, M., & Bergman, T. (Eds.). (2005). EU och Sverige—ett sammanlänkat statsskick. Malmö: Liber.Find this resource:

Egeberg, M. (2005). The EU and the Nordic countries: Organizing domestic diversity? In S. Bulmer & C. Lequesne (Eds.), The member states of the European Union (pp. 185–208). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Find this resource:

Ekengren, M. (2002). The time of European governance. Manchester, U.K.: Manchester University Press.Find this resource:

Ekengren, M., & Sundelius, B. (1998). Sweden: The state joins the European Union. In K. Hanf & B. Soetendorp (Eds.), Adapting to European integration: Small states and the European Union. London: Longman: London.Find this resource:

Gustavsson, J. (1998). The politics of foreign policy change: Explaining the Swedish reorientation on EC nembership. Lund: Lund University Press.Find this resource:

Johansson, K. M. (1999). Europeanisation and its limits: The Case of Sweden. Journal of International Relations and Development, 2(3), 169–186.Find this resource:

Johansson, K. M. (2003). Sweden: Another awkward partner? In W. Wessels, A. Maurer, & J. Mittag (Eds.), Fifteen into one? The European Union and its member states (pp. 369–387). Manchester, U.K.: Manchester University Press.Find this resource:

Larue, T. (2005). Agents in Brussels: Delegation and democracy in the European Union. Umeå: Umeå University/Department of Political Science.Find this resource:

Laursen, F. (2010). The Nordic countries: Between skepticism and adaptation. In M. Carbone (Ed.), National politics and European integration: From the constitution to the Lisbon Treaty (pp. 182–196). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Find this resource:

Michalski, A. (2013). Sweden: From scepticism to pragmatic support. In S. Bulmer & C. Lequesne (Eds.), The member states of the European Union (2d ed., pp. 161–185). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Find this resource:

Miles, L. (1997). Sweden and European integration. Aldershot, U.K.: Ashgate.Find this resource:

Miles, L. (Ed.). (2000). Sweden and the European Union evaluated. London: Continuum.Find this resource:

Miles, L. (2005). Fusing with Europe? Sweden in the European Union. Aldershot, U.K.: Ashgate.Find this resource:

Tallberg, J. (Ed.). (2001). När Europa kom till Sverige—Ordförandeskapet i EU 2001. Stockholm: SNS Förlag.Find this resource:

Tallberg, J., Aylott, N., Bergström, C. F., Casula Vifell, Å., & Palme, J. (2010). Europeiseringen av Sverige. Stockholm: SNS FörlagFind this resource:

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Notes:

(1.) In part, the article is based on and summarizes my research on this topic over the past three decades (e.g., Johansson, 2002 [first edition 1999]; Johansson & Raunio, 2010; Johansson & Tallberg, 2010; Johansson & von Sydow, 2011), and accounts for new evidence. Among other things, my research draws on many interviews and conversations and archival research.

(2.) Research on Europeanization addresses the ways in which the EU as an independent variable affects the policies, politics, and polities of the member states, in particular. Previously, at least, most of this literature has centered on the extensive and easily observable consequences on policy, at the expense of exploring the less evident and discernible effects on domestic institutional structures.

(3.) Implicitly or explicitly, she also targeted political scientists who placed particular emphasis on problem-solving capacity or efficiency.

(4.) Particular reference to Gidlund and Jerneck (1996).

(5.) However, unlike Britain and Denmark, Sweden does not have a formal “opt-out” from the single currency.