EU on brink as Swexit calls mount: ‘UK did all heavy lifting for non-euro states’

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The UK finally secured its Brexit mandate, by concluding a trade deal with Brussels to take back control of its sovereignty, laws and waters. With the prospect of the UK beginning to rebuild its reputation as an international force, nations such as Sweden and the Netherlands have seen anti-EU sentiment rise. Sweden enjoyed a fruitful relationship with the UK while it was a member of the bloc, and often relied on its vote during sessions in European Parliament.

Between 2009 and 2015, the UK and Sweden joined together on 88 percent of votes, Votewatch Europe claimed.

Together, they even successfully led a charge to secure the first ever EU budget cut back in 2013.

But Ulrica Schenström, a Moderate Party member and former Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s state secretary, detailed how difficult Sweden’s relationship with the bloc could become should the UK quit in 2016.

She said that there were “lots of reasons for Sweden to be worried”, The Local reported, adding: “Our partnership with the UK, which like us is outside the euro but inside the EU, is really important for us.

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“Britain has done a lot of the heavy lifting for us non-euro countries.”

Ms Schenström also exposed how if the “British leave, euroscepticism in Sweden will grow”.

Sweden opted out of joining the euro in a 2003 referendum, with a poll in 2015 showing that support to enter the eurozone had dwindled to just 15 percent.

Fears that Sweden may be forced into the single currency have persisted, and pre-Brexit leading financial institution Swedbank said calls to join it would only increase if the UK left the EU.

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He said: “If there’s going to be a Brexit, then this would raise so many questions related to the impact on the EU and the Swedish membership.”

Swedish MEP Peter Lundgren also warned that Sweden could follow the UK out of the EU, telling the European Parliament last year: “I wonder as a Swedish citizen standing here today, why should we join in and pay for all of this?

“Why should Sweden borrow money and lend money to other EU countries without getting anything in return?”

“We can’t cope. You have just as many problems as Sweden does and the longer you insist with this United States of Europe there will be more and more referendums going against being members of this club.”

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In 2016 there was an appetite for Swexit, as a poll by TNS Sifo found that 36 percent would be in favour of quitting the EU, while 32 percent were against.

Similarly, nine in 10 people also felt that the UK leaving the EU would be a bad thing to happen to the bloc – and for Sweden.

Sweden’s then-Deputy Prime Minister Margot Wallstrom warned at the time a vote for Brexit “could break up the entire union”.

Speaking on the BBC’s This Week’s World, the Swedish Social Democratic Party member said: “That might affect other EU member states that will say, ‘Well, if they can leave, maybe we should also have referendums, and maybe we should also leave.”

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