Wallström warns: a Brexit would be "protracted"
The UK could find itself in complicated negotiations with the EU should the country opt for a Brexit in the coming referendum, Sweden's Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström warns.
Britain should not expect to straight away get the same trade agreement that non-EU countries like Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein already have with the European Union, Wallström told the daily Dagens Nyheter. These countries are part of the European Economic Area which allows companies from those countries to have access to the EU's internal market.
But it is not given that the UK would get the same terms, said Wallström.
"No, why should it be? A new negotiation will be necessary and that can become a very protracted procedure," she said.
Wallström is hoping the Brits will vote to stay in the union, but does not dare to guess the outcome of the vote on the 23rd of June.
"The best we can to is to stress how important it is for Sweden that the UK remains in the EU," she said.
The foreign minister believes leading politicians in the UK are partly to blame for the strong anti-EU sentiment in the country, because they have not stood up for the union.
"The most horrible lies about the EU have not been challenged," she said.
Wallström calls on leaders in Europe to stop blaming all problems on the EU.
"We need to point out all the good examples that are there. Like when the EU-countries are united during the climate talks, or when we decide on sanctions against Russia, that is when we can achieve results," she said.
Wallström gave the interview ahead of Europe Day on the 9th of May, which is the anniversary of the first original European Coal and Steel Community, which later developed into the EU. She also commented on other EU-related issues, such as attempts to co-operate over refugees.