Sweden: No Fence, No Sitting

No Fence, No Sitting

What's the point of being neutral if there are no longer two sides? That's what Sweden's Parliament asked itself last week when it voted 287 to 40 to apply for membership in the European Community, departing from a national tradition of sitting on the geopolitical fence. "The collapse of the communist dictatorships in Eastern Europe has changed the military map," says Lotta Forsman, an E.C. expert at the Foreign Ministry, "and consequently the basis for Sweden's neutrality."

Swedes have long fretted that E.C. membership would dilute their country's elaborate welfare apparatus. But with the economy in decline, there seemed little to...

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