Time now to procede to the next entry in the on-going “Europa XL” series in the Danish newspaper Politiken of cultural portraits of EU member-states, this time to Denmark’s sister-state, Sweden. The writer who was asked to contribute her suggestions for that country’s representative painting, photograph, person, etc. is Liza Marklund – journalist, editor, and author of what Politiken terms “a series of extraordinarily popular contemporary novels in the crime genre,” who came into her own as a commentator on Swedish society last fall, with the murder of Swedish foreign minister Anna Lindh.
I’ve looked forward to this one, as I’m very interested in Sweden but know relatively little about that country. I do consider it as rather unique within the EU: not one of Europe’s “big powers,” but rather one of what is only a handful of “medium-sized powers” (the others being Spain and Poland). And while on the one hand Sweden’s internationalism, environmental awareness, and other things as well make it a natural candidate for the EU, on the other Sweden is also one of those countries that has been allowed to opt-out of adopting the euro as its currency and, as last September’s referendum shows, is far away from ever changing its mind. (more…)