Yesterday became a black day for Swedes all around the world after the news spread that Foreign Mini...
Yesterday became a black day for Swedes all around the world after the news spread that Foreign Minister Anna Lindh had died after being stabbed while out shopping. Until then, all eyes were on Sweden's Euro referendum this weekend.
The nation is in a state of shock and despair, and while the Swedish media is covering their pages with photos of Lindh, the rest of Sweden seems to have come to a standstill.
As for me – a Swede in London - I feel slightly isolated from my fellow countrymen. Although the British media covered the news of her death - as the third story among the headlines - I became almost for the first time during my four years in London acutely aware of the fact that I wasn't home.
After all, Sweden is a tiny country. What might be big headlines for us, are smallprints for everyone else.
This is hardly surprising, and it is definitely not something new. However, it does raise the question whether Sweden's role in the world, or more importantly in Europe, is significant enough to consider its people's views.
And if the Swedish population is struggling to decide which way to go - "yes" or "no" - how will the UK population fare when it faces a referendum on the euro in a few years?
Unlike discussions in the UK - about whether joining the euro will help the economy as a whole - the issue of whether Sweden will have a voice politically seems to be the central question for most Swedes when it comes to adapting the single currency.
This is an important question to answer as Sweden's referendum on the euro is still going ahead on Sunday despite the killing of Lindh.
Thinking along the line of the "Yes" campaigners, joining the euro will certainly be a step towards peace and a stronger economy as a united Europe would bring more security.
A common fear is that Sweden – with its already remote location on the map – will become isolated from Europe and hence the rest of the world. This is, however, disputable as more or less the same argument was used when Sweden was voting for joining the EU.
Flicking the coin, many people believe that by voting "Yes", Sweden is going to lose its identity and would also found it hard to get its voice heard. According to some people, this could in the end become a threat to the Swedish democracy as decisions made by politicians elsewhere in Europe are going to overshadow native politic decisions.
Apart from that, the strongest argument for a "No" seems to be that strong economies - like Sweden and the UK - have little to gain and much to loose by joining the single currency.
Sweden has both lower inflation and lower unemployment figures – only 4% compared to the European average of 8% - compared to most other European countries.
With inflation too low in Ireland and too high in Germany at the moment, people are also afraid that the ECB won't take Sweden's economy into consideration when making decisions about the inflation, which could in turn lead to higher unemployment.
The arguments are many and divided, and while people have been predicting a swing in favour of the euro - prompted by public sympathy for Lindh who was a leading campaigner for Sweden to join the euro - the "No" campaign has continued to make gains.
According to the latest poll by the market research company Sifo conducted Thursday evening, the "No" vote is still in the lead with 50% to 38% with 10% still undecided.
Whatever might happen on Sunday is still yet to be revealed. As for me, being the coward that I am, I have choosen to hide behind my new country's wing and abide by the UK whenever the population gets the chance to make its vote.
Long-term, the "yes" or "no" vote is a huge decision for Sweden as a country. Short-term, however, we are still mourning and the outcome - whichever way it goes - is likely to feel emotionally tainted.
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