Reaktionerna på Tage Erlanders metalltal : En analys av aktörers identitet och intressen
The Swedish Prime Minister, Tage Erlander, made a speech on the 22 of August 1961 in which he dismissed speculation that Sweden was seeking to abandon its neutral stance and non-alignment in foreign policy with a view to requesting membership of the European Economic Community. The reason was that the EEC was supposed to have a political part where a connection with NATO should have existed. This speech led to a domestic discussion which has been called the most intense debate of foreign affairs in recent history. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the reactions of the other parliamentary parties to Erlander’s speech. The theoretical points draw from social constructivism, which is being operationalised into states’ identity and interests. These interests are states’ physical survival, autonomy and economic well-being. All of these three interests were present in Erlander’s speech.
The study shows that the Centre Party (Centerpartiet) was in agreement with Erlander’s stance and coincided that it was impossible to reconcile membership of the EEC with the state’s neutral stance. Both the Social Democrats (Socialdemokraterna) and the Centre Party gave priority to the interest of autonomy over economic well-being. However, there were aspects of the interest of physical survival in the opinions of the Social Democrats, which might be connected with their role as the government party and therefore having the ultimate responsibility. The biggest critics were the non-socialist parties: the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) and the Conservative Party (Högerpartiet). The latter two believed that the country should seek the oppurtunity to make an exception to the neutral stance when applying for membership and then evaluate whether it would be possible to reconcile it with non-allignment. They both had economic well-being as their major interest. Further criticism came from the Communist Party (Kommunistpartiet), who were opponents of any aspect of European cooperation. They even drew parallels between the EEC and Hitler’s vision for Europe. The Communist Party included interests of physical survival and autonomy in their argumentation. All parties were consistent in keeping to their interests throughout the period of this research.
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