What is the relationship between the European Union and Sweden? Should Sweden embrace a closer kinship to the European project, stick to the current path or cut its ties to the continent? In 2014 Sweden will hold elections to both the EU parliament and the national Riksdag. One of the main issues debated in national media is the role of Sweden with regards to the EU.
The Stockholm School of Economics, therefore, hosted a public debate on the Motion “Hur mycket EU tål Sverige” on the 16th of December of 2013. This translates roughly to: "How much EU can Sweden deal with?"
The case for greater integration with the European Union was argued on both a moral and a practical ground by Hugo Selling. The case was made that Sweden, as an sovereign actor had a duty to show solidarity with the rest of Europe and work with them to solve pan-European issues. In the long run this would give Sweden a greater voice, though the EU, on the world stage as opposed to being a small, lone actor. The approach of being critical to the European Union as an concept (and not just specific parts) was said to be counterproductive to the shared goals of the EU nations.
Henrik Lundquist ‘s case against greater integration was based on the failure of the Economic Union to deal effectively with the financial crisis and the disparate nature of the member states. He argued that greater EU bureaucracy would lead to a less engagement with issues such as asylum seekers and government surveillance. Cooperation between nations did not have to be through the EU framework and that several issues (such as how economically disadvantaged EU-migrants are treated) had to be resolved before any greater commitment should be promised or enacted.
The debate was held in front of roughly forty students who asked questions and engaged with the debaters and each other after the public debate was concluded.
Debate changing Europe
The debate series Debate changing Europe aims to let students debate about themes of European-wide importance in tournaments and public debates. It is a cooperation project between IDEA NL and university debating organisations in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden. The winners of the local tournaments were offered a chance to participate in a Common European Event from June 2-6, where they learned how European policy is made and how they can influence it, which they then taught to other young people in their own countries. IDEA NL will present an open source advocacy manual on the basis of this project.
Debate changing Europe is made possible with funding from Youth in Action.