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For Swedes, euro a no go

By Associated Press
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 15, 2003

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Swedes rejected adopting the European common currency in a Sunday referendum overshadowed by the killing of Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, an ardent euro supporter, days earlier.

The Swedish rejection of the euro is a blow to the common currency and European integration. It also provides a boost for euro opponents in Britain and Denmark, which still use their own currencies.

Denmark rejected the euro in a 2000 referendum. Britain has not decided whether to let voters decide the issue.

Prime Minister Goeran Persson said late Sunday that voters rejected replacing the current Swedish currency, the krona, with the euro.

Results from 97 percent of the Scandinavian country's 5,967 precincts showed that 56.3 percent of voters rejected the euro, while 41.7 percent supported it. Two percent cast undecided ballots.

More than 5.4-million ballots were cast.

The results countered some analysts' predictions that the stabbing death of Lindh would emotionally sway voters to adopt the currency used by 12 of the 15 European Union members.

Lindh was stabbed repeatedly by an unknown assailant as she shopped in a Stockholm store. She died early Thursday after hours of surgery. Police on Sunday released pictures of a possible suspect but have made no arrests.

ESTONIA VOTES TO JOIN EU: Estonians voted Sunday to join a historic expansion of the European Union, fulfilling what once seemed an unattainable dream for the small Baltic state.

The supporters of joining the federation of European nations had 67 percent of the vote, according to results from nearly all polling stations, Estonia's Central Election Commission reported. The other 33 percent voted no on the referendum.

With this vote, eight of 10 nations invited to become new members of the European Union next year have approved referendums endorsing the move. Cyprus is leaving the decision to lawmakers while Estonia's Baltic neighbor, Latvia, will hold a referendum on Saturday.

All 10 countries are expected to become full members of the trade bloc in May 2004, increasing European Union membership to 25.

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