Traditionally, Sweden has been portrayed as an active bridge-builder in international politics in the 1960s and 1970s. The country advocated a “third way” toward democratic socialism and greater “justice” in international affairs, but these foreign policy prescriptions were never applied to European affairs. This article examines Sweden's relations with Europe by contrasting European integration with the Cold War. Negotiations on Swedish membership in the European Communities and Swedish policy at the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe were influenced by a general Berührungsangst toward Europe, which persisted during the years of détente. Because Swedish decision-makers believed that heavy involvement in European affairs would constrict Sweden's freedom of action, Swedish leaders' moral proclamations were applied exclusively to distant Third World countries rather than the egregious abuses of human rights in the Soviet bloc.

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