Göran Persson: Why Sweden should say 'yes' to the euro

From a speech by the Swedish Prime Minister at the Baltic Festival in Stockholm

Our generation is in the middle of a historic process that our parents could only dream about. I have lived for half a century. On our school map the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea was a grey outline. On the other side was the threat - the Soviet Union.

Today we see possibilities where yesterday we saw threats. The iron curtain has been lifted. The struggle for liberation has turned dictatorships into democracies, ready to become members of the EU. Today the Baltic region is teeming with activity and exchange. Few other regions in Europe have such good prospects for future growth.

Now that many of countries in our region are making concentrated efforts as they approach full membership of the EU and the monetary union, I want Sweden to say "yes" to enlarged co-operation. Sweden has been a strong driving force behind EU enlargement. Now that enlargement, we in Sweden must not weaken our voice in Baltic co-operation by standing aside from currency co-operation.

The euro is already used in Finland and Germany, and may soon be with us in Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. This is a chance for a new start in Baltic co-operation. No one is so big and strong that they can never learn from others. No one is so small and weak that they cannot make contributions. We will all be better off if no one is left out.