Friday, January 03, 2003
How is the Swedish model faring? - 3rd January 2003, 23.11

This question is always a favoured concern of mine as Stockholm remains a bolthole for rest and relaxation, away from the London rush. The country remains a fine example of the liberal, organised Scandinavian and Nordic (can't forget Finland) societies that have provided a high standard of living for their inhabitants in cold climates. I was there for the New Year and enjoyed a wonderful cold snap with falls of snow that have not been seen in South-East england for years.

Whilst there is much to admire, Sweden still faces the same problems that are beginning to confront the foundations of all European states. Here is an article by Joakim Palme (translated), that remains far too complacent about the problems that Sweden faces.

Sweden moved into the 21st century after a decade of mass unemployment, financial crisis and cutbacks in the social welfare sector. Moreover, inequality has increased today, the population is ageing and large groups of immigrants are jobless. EU membership and globalisation of the economy, meanwhile, appear to be restricting Sweden's room for manoeuvre on national policy issues. This prompts the question of how the Swedish model is faring.

Of course, this article does not spell out the dangers of a European Union that tries to legislate the peculiarities and distinctiveness of singular cultures out of existence.


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