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EUROPEAN UNION

Swexit, nej tack! Most Swedes would vote ‘remain’: survey

Swedes are among the happiest in the EU with their country's membership of the union, according to a new Eurobarometer poll on behalf of the European Parliament.

Swexit, nej tack! Most Swedes would vote 'remain': survey
Swedes give the red light to leaving the EU. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

A total of 77 percent of Swedish respondents believe EU membership is a good thing, an increase of nine percentage points over the past six months and Sweden's highest recorded level since 2007, according to the survey. Only seven percent said it was a bad thing and 16 percent described it as “neither good nor bad”.

Two thirds of Swedes (63 percent) told the survey they are against joining the European economic and monetary union with one single currency. Sweden voted against adopting the euro with 56 percent no votes to 42 percent yes votes in a national non-binding referendum in 2003.

If a referendum was held tomorrow regarding Sweden's membership of the EU, 83 percent said they would vote to remain and ten percent said they would vote in favour of a Swexit.

Support for remaining is only stronger in Luxembourg and Ireland (85 percent), and Sweden scored significantly higher than the EU on average (66 percent remain, 17 percent leave). Notably, in the UK, currently preparing for Brexit, 53 percent said they would vote remain if a referendum was held today, compared to 35 percent who would vote leave.

Swedish respondents also appear to be content with the level of democracy in the EU (61 percent said they are satisfied with European democracy) with 90 percent saying they believe that their vote counts.

Election Q&A: Where do the Swedish parties stand on Swexit?

A total of 48 percent said however that the EU is “going in the wrong direction”, despite Sweden showing an extraordinary increase in a positive direction when it came to almost all other indicators in the survey.

Pollsters also asked EU residents which areas they consider as threats. Climate change is the top threat for Swedes (62 percent) as well as the Danes and Dutch, compared to terrorism in the UK and France, poverty and social exclusion in Greece, and illegal immigration in Malta, the Czech Republic, Italy and Greece.

A total of 44 percent of Swedes cited organized crime as a threat that they wanted the EU to protect them against, 43 percent cited poverty and exclusion, 42 percent terrorism, 34 percent political extremism, 32 percent religious radicalism, 30 percent armed conflict, 24 percent fake news and disinformation online, 19 percent illegal immigration, 15 percent unemployment and 10 percent cited abuse of personal data online.

The figures are the result of face-to-face interviews with 27,474 EU citizens aged above 15, carried out between September 8th and 26th, at the time of Sweden's general election on September 9th.

Read the full Eurobarometer report HERE.

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TECH

‘A great day for consumers in Europe’: EU votes for single smartphone charger

The EU parliament on Tuesday passed a new law requiring USB-C to be the single charger standard for all new smartphones, tablets and cameras from late 2024 in a move that was heralded a "great day for consumers".

'A great day for consumers in Europe': EU votes for single smartphone charger

The measure, which EU lawmakers adopted with a vote 602 in favour, 13 against, will – in Europe at least – push Apple to drop its outdated Lightning port on its iPhones for the USB-C one already used by many of its competitors.

Makers of laptops will have extra time, from early 2026, to also follow suit.

EU policymakers say the single charger rule will simplify the life of Europeans, reduce the mountain of obsolete chargers and reduce costs for consumers.

It is expected to save at least 200 million euros ($195 million) per year and cut more than a thousand tonnes of EU electronic waste every year, the bloc’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager said.

The EU move is expected to ripple around the world.

The European Union’s 27 countries are home to 450 million people who count among the world’s wealthiest consumers. Regulatory changes in the bloc often set global industry norms in what is known as the Brussels Effect.

“Today is a great day for consumers, a great day  for our environment,” Maltese MEP Alex Agius Saliba, the European Parliament’s pointman on the issue, said.

“After more than a decade; the single charger for multiple electronic devices will finally become a reality for Europe and hopefully we can also inspire the rest of the world,” he said.

Faster data speed

Apple, the world’s second-biggest seller of smartphones after Samsung, already uses USB-C charging ports on its iPads and laptops.

But it resisted EU legislation to force a change away from its Lightning ports on its iPhones, saying that was disproportionate and would stifle innovation.

However some users of its latest flagship iPhone models — which can capture extremely high-resolution photos and videos in massive data files — complain that the Lightning cable transfers data at only a bare fraction of the speed USB-C does.

The EU law will in two years’ time apply to all handheld mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones, headsets, portable speakers, handheld videogame consoles, e-readers, earbuds, keyboards, mice and portable navigation systems.

People buying a device will have the choice of getting one with or without a USB-C charger, to take advantage of the fact they might already have at least one cable at home.

Makers of electronic consumer items in Europe agreed a single charging norm from dozens on the market a decade ago under a voluntary agreement with the European Commission.

But Apple refused to abide by it, and other manufacturers kept their alternative cables going, meaning there are still some six types knocking  around.

They include old-style USB-A, mini-USB and USB-micro, creating a jumble of cables for consumers.

USB-C ports can charge at up to 100 Watts, transfer data up to 40 gigabits per second, and can serve to hook up to external displays.

Apple also offers wireless charging for its latest iPhones — and there is speculation it might do away with charging ports for cables entirely in future models.

But currently the wireless charging option offers lower power and data transfer speeds than USB-C.

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