On September 4, 2003, Mattias Hansson published a press release disclosing that he was the creator of the Swedish "super ironic satire" website "Nej till euron". Mr. Hansson claims to have no political interest, he just wanted to publish satire and his own kind of humour.
This website Nej till euron (Swedish for "no to the euro") appeared on August 13, containing political arguments against instroducing the euro currency in Sweden. According to the site, it was created by Mr. Jan Nyberg, allegedly a freelance writer and film maker.
- Website, http://www.nejtilleuron.se/
Suspicions immediately arose about the website's true nature. Did the person really exist? Or was it an undercover operation by a public relations firm paid by the pro-euro side in the campaign for the Swedish referendum?
Sweden's Euro Currency Referendum
On September 14, 2003, Sweden holds a referendum on whether to join the 3rd stage of the European Monetary Union (EMU) and change its national currency (krona, SEK) to the euro (EUR). Most other member states of the European Union have already changed currency, but Denmark, Great Britain, and Sweden still have their traditional currencies. The Swedish parliamentary elections in September 2002 resulted in a minority social democrat government supported in parliament by the leftist (former communist) and environmentalist (green) party, but the euro issue does not follow party lines. The leaders of most parties are pro-euro, but opposition exists within each party, even among ministers in the cabinet.
The issue for the referendum is "should Sweden join the 3rd stage of the EMU and change its currency to the euro?" and the answers are yes or no. No official campaign organizations have formed, but various organizations and individuals do campaigning on a bigger or smaller scale.
Swedish glossary: ja = yes, nej = no, till = to.
- The dominating yes campaign website, http://www.jatilleuron.se/
- One major no campaign website, http://www.nejtillemu.se/
Just note that these URLs read yes-to-the-EURO and no-to-EMU.
Enter Jan Nyberg
This is where suddenly on August 13, 2003, the website http://www.nejtilleuron.se/ pops up, apparently a grassroot's voice, created by one totally unknown Jan Nyberg (a common name). The website is well designed in that it doesn't have any broken links, but the colors are totally ugly and the HTML design elements are primitive.
According to the domain name system (DNS), the site is hosted by http://www.bazooka.se/, a well-known web advertising bureau in Stockholm known for innovative designs. For example, the website http://buzz.bazooka.se/ presents a daily selection of links to hilarious web pages, a must-read among Swedish web designers.
On his website, Jan Nyberg posts articles pointing out that the coins for the new currency might cause allergy and that food prices are sure to increase. He presents some of his home-made videos.
Under "Länkar" (links), Jan Nyberg points to a discussion forum on the Swedish web portal Passagen, where he has posted some of his articles, and taken part in discussions around them. He also has a link to http://susning.nu/Jan_Nyberg , a page about himself on a major Swedish wiki website, where some other participants are starting to question his existence. According to the wiki page version history, Jan Nyberg uses a residential broadband connection from the Internet service provider chello.se to edit the page.
The general impression from Jan Nyberg's website is that the anti-euro side of the campaign is full of lunatics that are more fun to laugh at than serious thinkers.