THE ripples from Gordon Brown's statement on British membership of the Euro earlier this week are spreading out to other countries. The greatest immediate impact will probably be in Sweden where a referendum on joining the single currency is due to be held on September 14. The government is asking for a Yes vote from the Swedish people but the latest Gallup poll showed 50 per cent against the euro, 32 per cent in favour and 18 per cent undecided. The ambiguous nature of Mr Brown's position and the unlikehood that a referendum could take place before the next UK election will not have helped the Swedish government to recover ground. And, just as British opinion affects Sweden, so a No vote in Sweden in September would not help the cause of those who want to see Britain in the single currency as soon as possible. There are similarities between the two countries. For instance, the Swedish economy is flourishing outside the euro zone, as is the British, and many industrialists cannot understand why a decision has to be taken so soon. We can say Yes at any time in the future, but if we say it now we cannot change our mind later is a view frequently heard expressed by business leaders.
As with Tony Blair in Britain, the Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson has a Cabinet and a party in which both pro-euro and anti-euro opinions are represented but he has recently told ministers that they must express only pro-euro views. He has a major task ahead of him to get a Yes vote.