EU warned Brexit ‘would put wind under Swexit’s wings’ as bloc tipped to crumble

Eurosceptic party calling for ‘SWEXIT NOW’ leading polls

, anti-Brussels sentiment has grown across the bloc, with euroscepticism on the rise in nations such as and the Netherlands. After the major row over the ‘s vaccination call to control the number of jabs entering the UK erupted last week, anger towards Brussels – and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen – has also spiked. Many inside Brussels warned that such a tactic could undermine the bloc’s pledge to “rebuild transatlantic relations”, with one diplomat claiming a block on vaccines “would start a trade war with the US”.

With Brexit now a reality for the , other nations have looked emulously at Britain, as it now begins its bold plan to reinvigorate its own economy and take back control of its laws, and waters.

Among those EU member states, are Sweden, who previously warned that if Brexit was voted for in the UK, rhetoric could rise with the electorate.

Jan-Erik Gustafsson, chairman of No to EU, said Brexit would allow his group to prosper, telling news agency TT before the referendum: “Evidently we would have a lot more wind under our wings if Brexit happens.”

It was a view shared by Göran von Sydow – deputy director of the Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies – who argued that it would open up a wider question on what the EU actually does for Sweden.

He added: “The EU will be changed by [Brexit], as well as for other reasons in the coming years.

“In that kind of development people would have to ask themselves, ‘What does Sweden want with its EU membership?'”

The UK’s relationship with Sweden was enduring while Britain was inside the bloc.

Both nations joined together on 88 percent of votes between 2009 and 2015, and even successfully led a charge to secure the first ever EU budget cut back in 2013.

Per Tryding, deputy chief executive officers of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Southern Sweden, argued in a comment piece for The Local in 2016 that because of the close bond between Sweden and other Nordic nations, Brexit was always going to be a difficult scenario.

Mr Tryding also claimed it would give Swexit supporters “an enormous morale boost”.

He wrote: “The UK is one of Sweden’s most important trading partners and Brexit would over time erode that relationship to the cost of billions for both parties. Culturally, the Brits have their biggest fans in the Nordic countries.

“You could say that Scandinavians are so in love with British culture that we sometimes find it difficult to see the flaws that do of course exist.

“This is also the reason why the Nordics fear Brexit. It would give eurosceptics an enormous morale boost in the region.

“This despite the fact that the EU’s critics in the UK – or mainly in England – are mainly found on the right of the political spectrum whereas they tend to be on the left in the Nordics.”

Among the other issues that have fuelled panic in Sweden, is the fact that the UK – which like Stockholm did not adopt the euro while inside the bloc – was its biggest ally against the eurozone.

Ulrica Schenström, a Moderate Party member and former Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s state secretary, said there were “lots of reasons for Sweden to be worried”, particularly as “the UK is like us and is outside of the euro”.

She said “Britain has done a lot of the heavy lifting for us non-euro countries,” adding that if the “British leave, euroscepticism in Sweden will grow”.

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.

Nordic eurosceptics would write a joint letter after the Brexit vote to demand the “unholy alliance” of the EU was broken up, adding in a 2017 note to Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet: “Like Washington, Brussels has developed into a Mecca for heavy lobbyists, partly due to significantly lower transparency and partly because of the competitive advantage over smaller actors (which cannot afford to pay for trips, lawyers and PR efforts, in order to influence the process of the decision-making).

“Today, there seems to be no limit of shame in how EU critics are treated. We now hear EU critical voters being referred to as plain ‘stupid,’ ‘archaic,’ ‘isolationist’ or ‘duped by dark forces,’ whoever they might be.”

It was signed by Mr Gustafsson, alongside his counterparts in No to EU campaigns in Norway and Iceland.


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