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Swedish politicians welcome "Brexit" vote

Published onsdag 27 april 2016 kl 16.00
Two Swedish parties welcome the British EU referendum
(2:29 min)
Johnny Skalin of the Sweden Democrats and Jens Holm of the Left Party represent their parties in EU affairs. Photo: Loukas Christodoulou/Sveriges Radio.
Johnny Skalin of the Sweden Democrats and Jens Holm of the Left Party represent their parties in EU affairs. Photo: Loukas Christodoulou/Radio Sweden.

Swedish politicians on the left and right tell Radio Sweden that the UK’s EU referendum will have a positive impact on their own parties and on Sweden as a whole.

Jens Holm of the Left Party told Radio Sweden that he thinks Sweden should follow the British prime minister's lead and re-negotiate its agreement with the EU. Sweden should try to get opt-outs in a number of areas, said Holm, who wants the Stefan Löfven – Sweden’s Social Democrat prime minister - to take action.

"We want Löfven to renegotiate the terms of the Swedish membership in the European Union, and we want progressive exemptions in the EU. I just hope Brussels listens," said Holm.

The Left Party thinks European Union rules hold Sweden back in areas such as workers' rights and the environment. While British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said there is a socialist case for staying in the EU, the Left Party's Jens Holm says this does not apply to Sweden.

While the anti-immigration aspect of the UK debate is not something the Left Party supports, they do see the referendum as positive, according to Holm.

"I just welcome the fact that citizens in the UK have the ability to have this referendum, and I hope we can see more progressive voices in the UK campaign," said Holm, who is a member of parliament and sits in the EU committee.

At the other end of the political spectrum, the anti-immigration Sweden Democrat Party also welcomes the UK referendum. It hopes the referendum could herald the splitting up of the EU, and that it will help transform the Swedish political debate.

The Sweden Democrats' EU spokesman Johnny Skalin told Radio Sweden:

"If the United Kingdom decides to leave, I think there's a bigger chance that Sweden and other countries in the EU decide to determine their own fates, since the European Union today is not a cooperation but instead is more about federalism, where countries inside the Union have to listen to Brussels instead of their own politicians," says Skalin, who is also a member of parliament and member of the EU committee.

The Sweden Democrats are a nationalist party and their allies in Britain are UKIP. They say they want to see cooperation in Europe, but between nations and not via an overall EU framework.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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