Thursday, October 26, 2006

Swedish Skeptics

Swedish reader and commenter XY has sent his translation of an article from yesterday’s Dagens Nyheter. The article reports that a recent study shows that Swedes are not particularly keen on cooperating with the United States.

However, if it’s any consolation, they don’t seem to have much enthusiasm about cooperating with anyone else, either:

Swedes are the most USA-skeptical in Scandinavia

Swedes are the Nordic countries’s most USA-skeptical people. Only one in ten Swede thinks that long term cooperation with the USA is important — as against every second Dane.

The Nordic Council has investigated the Nordic people’s attitude to cross-national cooperation. And the by far least interested are the Swedes.

Cecilia Malmström. “It is troubling,” says the EU minister Cecilia Malmström.

One of the questions in this major investigation is: “Are there any countries you think it is especially important to cooperate with in the long term?”

The answers suggest a widespread skepticism among the Swedes towards the USA, China and Russia.

Only 10 percent of the Swedes want long term cooperation with the USA, and as many with China and only 7 percent with Russia.

That can be compared with the 44 percent of the Danes and 33 percent of the Norwegians that want a long term cooperation with the USA.

The interest in cooperation with Russia is four times as big in all other Nordic countries except Iceland.

The Swedes are also the most skeptical in regard to long term cooperation with the EU countries — 43 percent want it, as against 80 percent of the Danes.

In all five countries in the study finds that cooperation among the Nordic countries the most desired. But the Swedes are the least interested there as well: 50 percent think it is important, as against 71 percent in Norway and 74 percent in Denmark.

The EU minister Cecilia Malmström says that the investigation is troubling, but also expresses a certain skepticism. That only about 500 persons in each of the Nordic countries — a total of 2,500 persons — have been interviewed suggests that the survey may not have been statistically significant, she says.

But at the same time she admits that the differences between Sweden and the rest of the Nordic countries is striking.

She thinks one reason is that there isn’t enough awareness of the advantages of international cooperation.

“It is important to show that both we and our neighbors have something to gain from cooperation.”

At the same time she thinks that the result is perplexing.

“The Swedes are a people that traditionally have been positive in regard to cooperation, for example in the U.N. and the EU’s expansion,” says Cecilia Malmström.

— Mats Carlbom

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