Sweden and the EMU

In order to join the EUs monetary union (EMU) and adopt the euro as its currency, a country must meet certain economic and legislative requirements, known as convergence criteria. The extent to which a country fulfils these criteria is assessed at least once every two years.

Sweden was assessed in 1998, 2000 and 2002, and was found to fulfil three of the four convergence criteria. The criterion we were not considered to fulfil concerned exchange rate stability. The Swedish krona did not participate in the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, ERM2. Furthermore, the Swedish Riksbank Act was not considered to fulfil the requirements set out in the Maastricht Treaty.

In Sweden, the parliamentary parties agreed that EMU participation would not be possible without the broad approval of the Swedish people. In March 2003, following talks between the party leaders, the Riksdag decided that a national referendum was to be held on Swedish participation in EMU, on 14 September 2003.

At the referendum, the Swedish people rejected participation, with 56 per cent voting against and 42 per cent for. All parliamentary parties pledged to respect the outcome of the referendum. No new referendum is planned for the foreseeable future.

In the debate that preceded the 2003 referendum, fears were expressed in some quarters that Sweden might lose influence in the economic policy field should the anti-EMU ticket win. The Government intends to continue working actively to ensure that Sweden remains a fully-fledged and influential force in the EU.