A military power during
the 17th century, Sweden has not participated in any war in almost two
centuries. An armed neutrality was preserved in both World Wars.
Sweden's long-successful economic formula of a capitalist system
interlarded with substantial welfare elements was challenged in the
1990s by high unemployment and in 2000-02 by the global economic
downturn, but fiscal discipline over the past several years has allowed
the country to weather economic vagaries. Sweden joined the EU in 1995,
but the public rejected the introduction of the euro in a 2003
referendum. Swedish is the primary language.